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Biggest challenge facing Modi's Ujjwala Yojana

June 05, 2019 19:38 IST

One of the major challenges before the government is that the annual average refill by a PMUY consumer is 3.28 cylinders compared to seven for others.

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), the scheme for providing cooking gas connections to the poor, was held up as one of the key social sector schemes that helped the BJP to win large swathes of votes in rural areas.

To answer the opposition criticism that the poor in some areas are unable to afford a refill, the government has decided to allot only 5-kg cylinders in areas where the rate of refill is low, instead of the regular 14.2-kg cylinder.

 

At present, the price of a 14.2-kg non-subsidised liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in Delhi is Rs 737.50 a cylinder, while, with subsidy, it comes to Rs 497.37 a cylinder, Rs 240.13 less.

A 5-kg subsidised cylinder, however, is available at Rs 175.1.

One of the major challenges before the government is that the annual average refill by a PMUY consumer is 3.28 cylinders compared to seven for others.

Under Modi 2.0, this is priority and officials have identified at least 10 districts with the lowest average refill rate of below two a year.

These are the ones where only 5-kg cylinders will be pushed.

The districts identified include Pakur, West Singhbhum, and Godda in Jharkhand; Koria, Surajur, Narayanpur, and Bemetara in Chhattisgarh; and Arwal, Jehanabad and Shekhpura in Bihar.

According to industry sources, the refill rates in these districts are the lowest.

There will be awareness campaigns.

These include display campaigns by way of banners, standees and hoardings at public places and consumer awareness activities in educational institutions, drawing competitions, and street plays.

The scheme added 71.9 million LPG consumers over the past three years.

Of these, 20 million connections were given in 2016-17, followed by 15.6 million in 2017-18 and the remaining 36.3 million connections in 2018-19.

Under the scheme, a cash assistance of up to Rs 1,600 is provided for releasing a deposit-free LPG connection.

It was launched on May 1, 2016, with a target of 50 million women in families below the poverty line.

The scheme’s ambit was later extended to 80 million, covering all poor families.

The government has increased the number from 13,896 in March 2014 to around 23,000 now.

Of the 6,347 areas advertised by the government for LPG dealership last year, letters of intents were given to 5,029 areas, while only 3,610 areas are commissioned.

Oil-marketing companies indicate they are in the process of commissioning the remaining areas too.

Photograph: PTI Photo

Shine Jacob in New Delhi
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