The number of rural households provided with free LPG connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has crossed the 1 crore mark. Under the scheme launched six months ago, each below-poverty-line rural household without LPG is being given an LPG cylinder, a stove and regulator.
“Till November 6, PMUY connections touched 99.46 lakh and on Monday it crossed the one crore mark,” said a source privy to the development. The NDA government’s flagship programme aims to make 5 crore rural households smoke-free during its tenure by offering clean cooking gas, at a cost of R8,000 crore (R1,600 per household) to the exchequer.
Among the states, poll-bound Uttar Pradesh has received the lion’s share with 34 lakh connections provided under PMUY. Other states that benefited the most from the scheme are Madhya Pradesh (13 lakh), Rajasthan (12 lakh), Bihar (10.2 lakh), West Bengal (7 lakh), Gujarat (5 lakh), Odisha (4.8 lakh), Chhattisgarh (3 lakh), Maharashtra (2.7 lakh), Haryana (2 lakh) and Tamil Nadu (1.4 lakh).
The connections under the scheme are given in the name of the woman head of the family.
The PSU oil marketing companies also provide monthly instalment facility for meeting the cost of stove and the first refill.
The identification of eligible BPL families are made on socio-economic caste census (SECC) data that is being provided by the petroleum ministry. To carry the scheme forward and implement it at the grass root level, district nodal officers of Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have been appointed in each and every corner across the country. These officers are the torch bearers for implementation of PMUY.
The LPG subsidy savings through the ‘Give-it-Up’ campaign is helping the government to foot the PMUY bill. Nearly 1.5 crore consumers have voluntarily opted to give away their cooking gas subsidy. Recently, the government made Aadhaar seeding of bank accounts mandatory for households to receive LPG subsidy. About 2.5 crore consumers who haven’t linked the unique identification number to their bank accounts have been given time till November 30 to complete the formality.
Currently, 16.5 crore households or over 90% of the LPG consumer base of over 18 crore receive subsidy for the fuel. The government managed to weed out 3 crore bogus households LPG connections (which were misused to divert the subsidised fuel to unauthorised commercial users) via the direct benefit transfer or PAHAL scheme during the past more than two years. However, the period also saw an equal number of fresh consumers, thanks partly to the decision to give free fuel connections to rural people.