As many as 2.5 crore poor women have so far been given LPG connections without upfront charges under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana launched about 14 months ago, the oil ministry said on Saturday.
President Pranab Mukherjee gave out the latest batch of LPG connections at a function in Jangipur, West Bengal, on Saturday in the presence of oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, the statement said.
Under the Ujjwala scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 May 2016 in Balia, Uttar Pradesh, 5 crore LPG connections will be handed out by 2019 to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families with a support of Rs1,600 per connection. Another 5 crore LPG connections are simultaneously being issued to consumers above the poverty line. About Rs8,000 crore has been allocated towards implementation of the scheme, part of a larger plan to improve use of gas in the domestic economy.
According to the oil ministry, more than 5,000 new LPG distributors have been added in the last three years—primarily in rural areas—to meet the enhanced LPG demand generated by the Ujjwala Yojana. Identification of BPL families for the scheme is done through Socio Economic Caste Census Data 2011.
The universalization of clean cooking fuel is being supported by oil companies by setting up more LPG production and bottling units, transportation facilities and recruiting more dealers across the country.
In 2016-17, state-owned oil marketing companies Indian Oil Corp., Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd issued 3.25 crore new connections across the country, including those given under Ujjwala scheme, the highest given in any year.
Uttar Pradesh has emerged as the biggest beneficiary under the scheme, with 55 lakh connections already handed out. To increase coverage in West Bengal, more than 600 distributors will be commissioned, said the oil ministry statement.