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How effective has the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana scheme been?

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana scheme launched in May 2016 intended to distribute LPG connections to women of Below Poverty Line families. How effective has the scheme been implemented?

AHSAN RAZA KHAN

LPG usage varies throughout India, with the total usage rate being around 60% of the population. The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana scheme was started with the objective of increasing the number of LPG connections throughout the country, especially in states with low usage rates. But how effective has it been?

LPG usage in India, before and after

The low total usage rate of LPG is in large part due to the very low usage rate in rural areas; with less than half of people in rural areas using LPG for cooking. It also varies widely from state to state. The reported use of LPG was lowest in Odisha (33%), Jharkhand (33%), and Meghalaya (35%). On the other hand, Puducherry (97%), Sikkim (96%), Goa (94%), and Delhi (94%) reported the highest proportion of households that use LPG for cooking. Among large states, Telangana (90.7%), Tamil Nadu (87%), Karnataka (81%), and Andhra Pradesh (81%) also had a high proportion of households using LPG.

Proportion of households that use LPG as primary fuel for cooking

There has been a definite growth in overall LPG usage in the country. According to the Ministry of Statistics, India has seen a growth of 12.9% in LPG usage in its citizens during the 2019-20 period. However, only 50% of the beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana were the ones who actually received their promised gas cylinders.

However, even among the people who did make use of the PMUY scheme, there seems to be a decline in the number of people getting refills of their LPG cylinders. Of the 3.18 crore PMUY consumers who had an LPG connection for one year or more as on December 31, 2018, 17.4% never ordered a second refill and 33.15% ordered only 1-3 refills per year. This indicates that more than half the beneficiaries consumed less than the national average of 3.21 refills

Why are refills decreasing?

There are many possible reasons why this might be the case. Installing and refilling charges of LPG are very high, which might prevent many people from getting a refill. There is also a long delay in the booking and receiving duration of LPG, due to the increase in initial demand for cylinders. LPG also poses greater safety issues when compared to a normal wood stove and awareness regarding the benefits of LPG is very scarce among the uneducated and far fetched areas of our country. Due to this, people may not take the idea of using LPG on a permanent basis seriously. Finally, the data available on the Ministry of Statistics website and from government surveys is mostly state-based not district-based. So available information is only on an average basis, but not exact.

Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed in this article are merely an exercise in data journalism and may reveal information that is otherwise not highlighted in the mainstream media.