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  • Ashi Mangal

POLICY REVIEW: PRADHAN MANTRI UJJWALA YOJNA

Ashi Mangal,

Prestige Institute of Management and Research, Gwalior

INTRODUCTION

PARTICULARS

 

LAUNCHED ON

1 MAY 2016

LAUNCHED BY

MR. NARENDRA MODI

MINISTRY

MINISTRY OF PETROLEUM AND NATURAL GAS

POLICY REVIEW: PRADHAN MANTRI UJJWALA YOJNA

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is the scheme launched by Indian Government on 1st May 2016 which aimed to provide gas cylinders to people below poverty line. The condition of Indian women in rural household were significantly bad. They were lacking basic facilities such as electricity, toilets, proper network and road connectivity, LPG cylinders etc. Women in rural areas as well as those of below poverty line use to make food on stove or fireplace which was runned by coal and other unclean fuels. This not only was so hectic but was also responsible for many health issues which included issues such as breathing issues, lungs infection etc. It was also responsible for air pollution as the smoke released by such stoves contain various harmful gases. Nearly 121 million households are still using the inefficient challahs as per the Census of India 2011. As per the World Health Organization (WTO) report, smoke inhaled by women at the time of cooking from unclean fuel is equivalent to burning 400 cigarettes in an hour (Rajnath Ram and Shafqat Mobarak 2018).[i] The government of India through this scheme tried to help Indian households  by providing them gas cylinders. It was an ambitious scheme launched by honourable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi to tackle unclean cooking fuels and replace them with Liquified Petroleum Gas. This scheme started from a city called Ballia in Uttar Pradesh.

IMPLEMENTATION OF UJJWALA YOJANA

It was the dream of the central government to provide clean cooking fuels to indian households in the country. This dream was fullfilled with the launch of Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojna. Through this scheme government targeted to provide clean fuel to around 5 crore households in India especially to those who were below poverty line on the names of women. This scheme started from a city called Ballia in Uttar Pradesh which is now spread in all states and union territories across the whole country. According to the official website of  Ujjawala Yojana more than 10 crore households have availed the benefit of Ujjawala Yojana and more than 2 Crore households have availed the benefit of Ujjwala 2.0.[ii]

OBJECTIVES OF UJJWALA YOJANA

Following were the major objectives of the launch of Ujjawala Yojana

1. To promote women empowerment[iii]:- this scheme was launched to empower women as it provides better fuel for cooking to women. It had also helped them get rid of all the hard work which accompanied them in gathering fuel to run stove. Further it had also improved their health conditions.

2. To provide a healthy cooking fuel[iv]:- Fuels such as coal, cow dung etc. often known as unclean fuels were used earlier for cooking purposes. These fuels were not good for cooking purposes. At the same time they were also responsible for increase in air pollution as well as health issues. Hence this scheme aimed to provide clean fuel for cooking.

3. To prevent hazards related to health which are caused majorly among rural inhabitants due to excessive use of fossil fuels.

4. To promote sustainability and purity of environment which is often been accompanied by the use of unclean fuels.

BENEFITS OF UJJWALA YOJANA

1. Affordability:- one of the major concerns for shift from unclean fuels to clean fuels was affordability. Poor households of the Indian Society were unable to purchase LPG cylinders owing to their higher prices. Hence it was one of the major benefits to people BPL.

2. Women’s Empowerment:- the time which women spent on bio fuels collection now goes in vain, this has provided them with new opportunities and have also saved their efforts in cooking. Now as they are having more time in their hands they can employ it in more productive activities such as their economic growth.

3. Healthy Society:- smokes of burning unclean fuels are hazardous to health. Inhaling those gases for an hour is equal to smoking 400 cigarettes. These gases contains large amount of carbon compounds which are responsible for air pollution. The air pollution causes many diseases such as lung infections, respiratory disorders etc. hence LPG is a healthier option.

4. Clean Environment:- clean environment is the ultimate objective of all the major policies of government. Use of unclean fuels not only is harmful for the general public but is also dangerous for the environment. The use unclean fuel releases toxins which pollutes both air and water. This also disturbs the eco system balancing. This has also contributed to the Swatch Bharat program of government of India.

5. Hilly Areas and North East: The benefits of this scheme are also available for the people of all Hilly States including the NE States (who are treated as ‘Priority States’).[v] The reason for this can be stated as these states are those which lack basic necessities and are those who are lacked behind and neglected.

BUDGET AND FUNDING

Total budget allocation of Rs. 8000 crore has been made by the Government for implementation of the scheme over three years starting from FY 2016-17. The Government has already assigned Rs. 2000 crore for implementation of PMUY 2016-2017. The scheme will be implemented using the money saved in LPG subsidy through the "Give-it-Up" campaign. The Indian Government has so far saved nearly Rs. 5,000 crore in LPG subsidy. Since the launch of "Give-it-Up" campaign, 1.13 crore people have given-up subsidies and are buying LPG cylinders at market price.[vi]

WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE SCHEME

1. Applicant must be a woman of 18 years or above.

2. A person must have access to BPL card.

3. She must be inhabitant of rural area.

4. The women applicant should have a saving bank account in any nationalized bank across the country to receive subsidy amount.[vii]

5. She must not have a connection already.

BENEFICIARIES UNDER THIS SCHEME

In addition to the SECC list, other categories have been added to identify prospective beneficiaries under PMUY. To meet the increased target, the scheme will now include the following beneficiaries: –

1. Poor Household as per 14-point declaration

2. Applicants must have attained 18 years of age.

3. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin)

4. Most Backward Classes

5. Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)

6. Tea and Ex-Tea Garden tribes

7. SC Households

8. ST Households

9. People residing on Islands and River Islands

10.  Forest Dwellers[viii]

 

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

1. BPL ration card

2. BPL Certificate Authorized by Panchayat Pradhan / Municipality Chairman

3. One Photo ID (Aadhar Card or Voter ID Card)

4. One recent passport size photograph

5. The basic details such as Name, Contact details, Jan Dhan / Bank account number, Aadhar card number etc.[ix] 

CHALLENGES TO PRADHAAN MANTRI UJJWALA YOJANA

The implementation of this scheme is said to have faced following challenges:-

1.  In India, census has not been done after 2011. This had created a problem as to how to identify the people who are socially and culturally neglected. It has also created the lack of efficient data and had created the hurdle for the government as to identify who is the real sufferer as what should be the target.

2.  There was a huge misuse of data as those people who were below poverty line during 2011 are now well off and had shifted above the line. It was also found out during the groundwork that majority require this scheme who are not the part of list.

3.  Many people are not aware about the use of LPG stove. This requires the government to run awareness programs to educate people about the same. This is necessary to avoid risk associated with this as majority of people who are beneficiaries are illiterate.

4. Many people are not having the required documents for applying for the scheme. This had created hurdles for them and to the government in the fulfilment of the objective.

5. The limited reach of LPG distribution posed difficulties in establishing distributorships in certain areas due to law and order issues or being classified as forest areas. Consequently, households in these regions remained disconnected from the scheme, unable to access cleaner cooking fuel.[x]

6. The major criticism can be seen from the fact that government is seemed to have shed its responsibility after delivering the cylinders as the number of refills is very low. This shows that the real usage is way too low in result. This also concludes that even if households have taken connections they are actually not using it.

CONCERNS REGARDING UJJWALA YOJANA

Limited Refill Consumption: the pattern shows that majority of households do not go for refilling of their gas cylinders which ultimately diminishes the goal or objective of the scheme. According to the data, one out of beneficiaries did not use LPG cylinders or took just one refill in the year 2022-2023.

Rising LPG Cylinder Prices: Price rise of cylinders has been one of the major concerns of the population for the reason that it had made cylinders less affordable even after subsidies. This has discouraged people to apply for cylinders and encouraged the use of unclean fuels especially among the rural households. 

Subsidy Expenditure: Between January 2018 and March 2023, rates for subsidised LPG cylinders increased by 82%, reaching ₹903 in March 2023 from ₹495.64 in January 2018. Subsidy amounts depend on the difference between the Retail Selling Price (RSP) and the subsidised cost set by the government. Non-subsidised LPG cylinders saw a 49% price increase, reaching ₹1,103 in March 2023.[xi]

International Factors Impacting LPG Prices: Various factors, including import charges, bottling charges, freight, delivery charges, GST, and distributor commission, contribute to the final LPG price.[xii] This led to overall increase in the price of cylinders which not only impact beneficiaries but also increases burden on the normal households.

CONCLUSION

This scheme is one of the major steps taken by the Indian government to uplift the status of those who have been left downtrodden for so long. This scheme had effectively implemented even after many hurdles and challenges to it. The women all over the country are the major beneficiaries. This scheme has helped them by reducing their contact with smoke as well as reducing their workload. Along with this it had also helped them spare some time for some extra earnings. This scheme has also helped the nation as a whole as it had substantially helped in reducing the air pollution which had further helped in decreasing health issues. It had further helped in creating awareness regarding the use of cleaner fuels instead of unclean fuels. The way of cooking in rural areas has been wholly transformed to the use of LPG. Hence it can be seen that this scheme had helped the nation as a whole and specially the women as they are less subjected to health issues now.

REFERENCES

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