Focus: GS-II Social Justice
Why in news?
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, PMUY scheme was aimed at achieving a shift from polluting to cleaner methods of cooking, and it has overshot its target of giving 80 million free LPG connections.
- The data also shows that in the last four years (2016-2020), PMUY connections account for 71% of growth in total domestic LPG connections in the country.
- This success however has not helped the PMUY achieve its stated goal.
- A unit level analysis of data from the National Sample Survey conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) shows that 43% of PMUY beneficiaries were not using LPG for cooking.
- The share of beneficiaries not using LPG for cooking increases down the economic ladder.
- The fact that almost 70% of PMUY beneficiaries are from the bottom 40% of the households, shows the scheme has been remarkably successful in reaching poor households.
Cost of refill problem
- The 2018 NSO survey findings show that the average monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) of the poorest 20% households in India was Rs. 1,065 – which means a cylinder refill costing Rs. 500 would comprise nearly half of a household’s MPCE.
- Even though PMUY and subsidised LPG consumers receive a subsidy on refill, they have to make the full payment upfront before the subsidy amount is transferred back to them.
- The high cost of gas refills, the CAG report said, has become a constraint in ensuring sustained usage of LPG.
- To be sure, beneficiaries under the PMUY scheme could also opt for a 5 kg cylinder in place of a routine 14.2 kg cylinder.
- The government also allowed swapping the bigger cylinder with the smaller one to make it easier for consumers to get a refill.
In order to ensure 100% LPG coverage in India – not only by the number of households covered but also by the number of households actually using it – it is important to make it easier for the country’s poor to buy a refill. This will require spending more on LPG subsidies.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)
- The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) is a government scheme launched in 2016 which envisages the distribution of 50 million LPG connections to women below the poverty line.
- PMUY is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
- There are 27.87 Crore active LPG consumers in the country, with the PMUY beneficiaries accounting for over 8 crores.
Why was PMUY Necessary?
- As per the estimates of the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 5 lakh deaths in India occurred due to unclean cooking fuel.
- These deaths were caused mostly due to non-communicable diseases including heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.
- Providing LPG connections to families below the poverty line will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas in the country.
- The scheme can be a tool for women empowerment in that LPG connections and clean cooking fuel can reduce cooking time and effort, and in most of India, cooking is a responsibility shouldered solely by women.
- The scheme also provides employment to the rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas.
Advantages of PMUY
- Providing LPG connections to BPL households will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas in the country.
- This measure will empower women and protect their health.
- It will reduce drudgery and the time spent on cooking.
- It will also provide employment for rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas.
-Source: Hindustan Times