In February this year, India was declared the second largest domestic LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) consumer in the world. In the last one year alone, 2.5 crore women from poor families have received LPG connections not just making their lives easier but also healthier.
In May 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. Under the scheme, the government aimed to provide LPG connections to BPL households in the country with a support of Rs1,600 per connection. The scheme is aimed at replacing the unclean cooking fuels mostly used in the rural India with the clean and more efficient LPG.
As on July 2017, the Union Petroleum minister claimed that 2.5 crore households have benefited out of the scheme. By 2019, the government hopes to provide LPG connections to 5 crore households across the country. According to the oil ministry, more than 5,000 new LPG distributors have been added in the last three years largely in rural areas. Identification of BPL families for the scheme is done through Socio Economic Caste Census Data 2011.
The scheme was introduced to empower women and protect their health. It was aimed at reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel, reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel and preventing young children from a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuel.
In 2016-17, government-owned oil marketing companies Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited issued 3.25 crore new connections across the country. Currently, 20.7 crore households in India have LPG connections