No clarity on LPG use for the rest of the beneficiaries
With Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan handing over an LPG connection to a woman in Parliament on Friday, Modi government completed its target of giving connection to five crore beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), commonly known as Ujjwala Yojana. But, how many of these beneficiaries are using LPG?
To know this, we have to rely on government’s version and there is no way to check whether the official statement is right or wrong.
On August 1, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, in a written reply to the Parliament, said that the connections released under PMUY helped in switching over from conventional cooking fuels such as firewood and biomass to LPG. According to him, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have reported average LPG consumption of 3.5 refills per PMUY consumer.
With reference to these OMCs, he said that nearly 80 per cent of PMUY beneficiaries, who have completed one year of connection release, have come back for the second refill. By this definition, at least one crore beneficiaries (20 per cent) have not come to refill ever since they got the LPG connection. Even among the four crore beneficiaries, who have come to refill the LPG cylinder second time, as the government claims, it is not known how many of them have come for third time or using LPG for cooking purpose regularly.
An analysis published in Economic and Political Weekly in May this year has also highlighted the issue. “The most important data point to understand whether PMUY beneficiary households are using LPG regularly is the rate of LPG consumption by such households. Such data is not reported on a regular basis for all states. The only information available for the rate of consumption for PMUY households is an average estimate for consumption for one year from the date of release of the connection,” it observed.
When DownToEarth travelled across four states to investigate the implementation of programme in mid-2017, it found majority of the people were not refilling the cylinder.
The scheme was rolled out by Prime Minister on May 1, 2016 at Balia in Uttar Pradesh. Earlier, Under PMUY, the government had set target of giving LPG connection to 5 crore families. Going by its success, the government later increased the target to 8 crore.
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