New Delhi, Mar 2: Government is committed to enhance LPG penetration in the country with special focus on eastern and north-eastern states and has earmarked an initial fund of Rs 2,000 crore this year for the purpose, Rajya Sabha was informed today.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the government's endeavour is to provide 5 crore more LPG connections with focus on poor and BPL families.
"We are focussing on eastern and north-eastern states and we are committed to increase them in the next three years. There will be a quantum jump in LPG penetration. "This government has a commitment to enhance and take a big leap to increase LPG penetration in eastern and north-eastern states," he said.
The Minister said West Bengal and Meghalaya, besides Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and other eastern and north-eastern states was top on government's priority to increase LPG penetration, as the LPG penetration was low in these states.
"We have made provisions for BPL families to provide them with LPG connections and a sum of Rs 2,000 crore has been earmarked initially this year," he said. Pradhan said when the NDA government came to power in June 2014, a total of 1.2 crore new LPG connections were provided and government has taken steps to increase them further in the last two years.
"During 2014-15, we have increased it to 1.6 crore and during the current year we intend to raise the new LPG connections to over 2 crore and we want to push it further to 3 crore connections," he said. The Minister also spoke about the 'Ujjwala scheme' launched in this budget for poor and BPL families to have new LPG connections.
As many as 5 lakh women out of a total of 15 lakh dying across the world out of domestic pollution were in India as poor women did not have LPG connections, he said, adding that the national average of LPG penetration in the country was 61.3 per cent.