The states in eastern India such as Odisha and Bihar are witnessing the maximum increase in domestic LPG consumers, petroleum ministry data show.
Between April 2013 and April 2016, the number of domestic cooking gas consumers saw a rise of 34.18% on a pan-India basis, while it witnessed a surge of as high as 74.37% in Odisha and 66% in Bihar during the same period.
During these three years, the domestic LPG consumers increased from 15.04 crore to 20.18 crore across India. Of this, the eastern states (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tripura and West Bengal) saw the maximum rise of 51.43%. These states were followed by northern states (Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP and Uttarakhand) at 36.42%. The growth in the southern states (AP, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu) was recorded at 29.37%, while it is lowest for the western region (Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, MP and Maharashtra) at 27.38%, according to petroleum ministry data.
The data have been revealed just a few days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveils the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, on May 1. The scheme aims to provide LPG connections without security deposits to 50 million women from BPL households over the next three years.
Industry watchers are of the view that the states with bigger section of BPL families would see the rise in clean cooking fuel consumption. The government has decided to distribute free LPG connection — with a set of cylinder, stove and regulator — to 1.5 crore BPL families in the current financial year.
Five crore families will be benefited under the scheme in the coming years. According to poverty estimates for 2011-12 (Tendulkar Committee), Assam, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have as high as 30-40% of their total population below poverty line as against the national average of 21.9%.
“Just a few weeks ago, terming Eastern India the nerve centre of India’s development, the PM emphasised that the entire area of eastern UP, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam and other Ne states must develop fast if India is to develop fast, sustainably and continuously for 25–30 years,” petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan wrote in a blog. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has earmarked `8,000 crore for providing five crore LPG connections to BPL households under PMUY. The scheme provides a financial support of `1,600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households. The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the state governments over three years.