India’s oil marketing companies (OMCs) — Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum — are in the process of floating a not-for-profit organisation to administer the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s Ujjwala Plus scheme. The scheme is for prividing free liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to those certified below-poverty line families which were left out in the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011, and will not receive benefit under the government’s Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
PMUY saw phenomenal success and achieved its first-year target of reaching 1.5 crore beneficiaries within eight months. PMUY was launched in May 2016 at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh to provide clean source of cooking fuel to five crore households in the next three years. “The modalities are on and the OMCs will create a not-for-profit company to receive donations. They have created an account which will require a formal approval from their respective boards,” said a person close to the development.
Individuals and institutions will be able to make voluntary donations for the Ujjwala Plus scheme which will be used to provide LPG connections to people belonging to the BPL cate- gory, but left out of the SECC list. The SECC list has been prepared by the departments of rural development and urban development and any addition will be as per the policy framed by them.
“By creating a not-for-profit body, donations will be eligible for tax deduction under Section 80G of the income tax Act. If someone is contributing, it should be acknowledged,” added the person quoted above. The organisation will be registered under the Companies Act, 2013. However, unlike PMUY, wherein beneficiaries get the connection along with equipment, Ujjwala Plus beneficiaries will have to pay for stove and refill.
The government allocated R2,000 crore for the nationwide implementation of PMUY for financial 2016-17, whereas a total budgetary allocation of R8,000 crore has been made for the overall implementation over three years. For financial year 2016-17, the allocation is R2,500 crore.
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The implementation of PMUY has increased the LPG coverage of the country from 61% at the start of calendar year 2016 to 70% by the end of the year, as claimed by the government. However, states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura are yet to witness a single connection to be released under PMUY as the scheme is still to be launched in these states.
Also, 14 states and Union Territories including Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Gujarat have LPG coverage less that the national average of 61%, as per a reply by the petroleum ministry in the Lok Sabha earlier this year.