The number of rural households provided with free LPG connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) could touch two crore in FY17 against the target of 1.5 crore, said petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
The minister said consumers under this scheme have already crossed the 1-crore mark and reached 1,01,40,075.
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.
Among the states, poll-bound Uttar Pradesh has received the lion’s share with 34.55 lakh connections provided under PMUY. Other states that benefited the most from the scheme are Madhya Pradesh (13.32 lakh), Rajasthan (12.94 lakh), Bihar (10.34 lakh), West Bengal (7.66 lakh), Gujarat (5 lakh), Odisha (4.8 lakh), Chhattisgarh (3 lakh), Maharashtra (2.7 lakh), Haryana (2 lakh) and Tamil Nadu (1.4 lakh).
Interestingly, all the top five of 638 districts where the scheme has been unveiled which has received maximum cooking gas connections are in UP. These are Sitapur, Allahabad, Kushinagar, Unnao and Gonda.
Pradhan said about 80% of consumers under the PMUY scheme have purchased their refills. This indicates that families have been using cooking gas.
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. Pradhan said 36% of subscribers under PMUY have not availed the EMI scheme.
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 grassroots level, district nodal officers of Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have been appointed across the country. These officers are the torchbearers 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 (UAN) 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 three 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.