After surpassing the annual target for releasing 1.5 crore liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections within eight months of announcing the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas now plans to formally launch the scheme in the northeastern states, reports Saurabh Kumar in New Delhi. “By February, we should be launching the programme in the seven states.
We have already got 1.78 lakh applications from Assam alone,” said a government official, requesting anonymity.
The National Democratic Alliance government launched PMUY in May 2016 at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh with an aim to provide clean source of cooking fuel to 5 crore households in the next three years with the first-year target set at 1.5 crore connections to be provided to women belonging to below poverty line households.
The government allocated Rs 2,000 crore for the nationwide implementation of the programme for 2016-17, whereas a total budgetary allocation of Rs 8,000 crore has been made for the overall implementation over the next three years. Given the number of connections released, the run rate comes to around 20 lakh connections a month or roughly 65,000 per day, added the official.
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According to a government statement, 14 states and Union Territories having LPG coverage less than the national average, including hilly states of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and all northeast states have been identified as priority states for the scheme. However, an executive from an oil marketing company close to the development said Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Assam will be the focus in the next phase. The executive requested not to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media. In Jammu and Kashmir, 1.84 lakh connections have been already released.
In terms of social representation, people belonging to the scheduled caste category in Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu topped the list with 51%, 49% and 48%, respectively, of the total recipients. For the schedule tribe category, Chhattisgarh (25%), Madhya Pradesh (22%) and Rajasthan (20%) were the top states (see chart). As per the government statement, after implementation of the scheme, LPG coverage in the country increased from 61% at the start of the calendar year 2016 to 70% on December 1.