The Cabinet has extended the Ujjwala Yojana of providing cooking gas (LPG) connections to ‘all poor households,’ a move that could potentially bring an additional 1 crore households under the scheme, whose earlier target was 8 crore households.
The Cabinet on Monday extended the Ujjwala Yojana of providing cooking gas (LPG) connections to ‘all poor households,’ a move that could potentially bring an additional 1 crore households under the scheme, whose earlier target was 8 crore households.
It was also decided to build a new four-lane bridge across the Ganga in Patna at a cost of `2,926 crore. Two new All Institute of Medical Sciences ?at Madurai (Tamil Nadu) and Bibinagar (Telengana) with a combined cost of Rs 2,292 crore – have also been approved.
As FE reported earlier, new beneficiaries of Ujjwala Yojana, which has already benefitted 5.8 crore households, will be those among holders of both ration cards and Aadhaar who will identify themselves as poor through self declaration.
Currently, there are 9.27 crore ration-card-holding households in the country.
Launched in May 2016, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was initially aimed at providing clean cooking fuel to 5 crore women from households classified as eligible over a period of three years. While the BPL list under Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011 was the main pool, criteria were laid out to exclude the relatively well-off.
A sum of Rs 8,000 crore was allocated for the scheme to start with. However, given the success of the scheme, finance minister Arun Jaitley announced in the last Budget to allocate an additional `4,800 crore and increased the target to 8 crore households. The revised target is expected to be achieved by 2020.
To cover a wider spectrum of households, the scheme has subsequently been opened to all Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe households, beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Antyodaya Anna Yojana, forest dwellers, “most backward classes,” tea garden and ex-tea garden tribes, and people residing in islands or river islands.
Till now, of the 5.8 crore connection released, 3.8 crore are beneficiaries from the SECC list and 2 crore from the other seven categories mentioned above. However, since the number of new applicants has tapered down, the government has decided to open up the scheme for all poor households.
The SECC beneficiary list for the PMUY was prepared using 14 parametres for exclusion such as no member of the family should have a government job, families owning irrigated land, etc. Beneficiaries from the other categories were identified on a self-declaration basis as well.
Under the PMUY, the government bears a burden of Rs 1,600 per connection and almost an equal amount is borne by beneficiaries who either pay upfront or take a loan from the oil marketing companies. The loan is repaid by beneficiaries by letting go of the subsidy with each refill. However, to push the refill rate, OMCs earlier this year announced that they will defer loan recovery by six months for every existing as well as new beneficiaries.