NEW DELHI: Did the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana reduce fuelwood removal from forests? Going by Forest Survey of India (FSI) report, released Monday, it did.
The report said that fuelwood consumption per capita per year at the national level has reduced by 5.46 per cent when compared to 2011. However, there is no comparative data available for other years, including 2016 when the scheme was launched.
FSI Director-General Dr Subash Ashutosh said that the Indian State of Forests Report (ISFR) 2020 for the first time assessed the dependence of people living near forests for their day-to-day needs such as fuelwood, fodder, small timber and bamboo.
The report, however, went on to compare the data with the ISFR 2011.
According to the report, a comparative analysis using the estimates of FSI’s study in 2011 (ISFR 2011) shows that fuelwood consumption in terms of per capita per year at the national level has reduced from 294.28 kg/capita/year in 2011 to 278.21 kg/capita/year in 2019 —a 5.46 per cent reduction.
“It is possible that Government schemes of promoting alternative fuels like LPG under Ujjawala scheme and non-renewable energy have been effective in reducing fuelwood removal from forests to some extent,” the report said.
When asked to elaborate how the Ujjwala scheme has helped, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “In rural areas where Ujjwala has been supported, it was essentially a replacement of firewood and in cities, it was a replacement of kerosene.”
High dependence in Nagaland, Himachal
The Forest Survey of India report said that in terms of total removal of fuelwood, the highest quantity of removal is estimated for Maharashtra followed by Odisha and Rajasthan. In terms of average removal of fuelwood per capita in a year, the highest dependence is observed in Nagaland followed by Himachal Pradesh and Tripura.