The penetration of LPG has crossed 85% of the households in Rajasthan from about 66% in about two years, thanks to Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) which has given 26 lakh new connections to women belonging to BPL families since the scheme was rolled out in May 2016.
The petroleum ministry, which is driving the scheme, is also planning to declare 599 villages in Rajasthan smoke-free on May 5 this year by providing LPG connection to all the households.
The scheme offers cash assistance up to Rs 1600 for providing new LPG connections to beneficiaries identified through socio-economic caste census (SECC) 2011 data. But to take the penetration closer to 100% or about 95%, identification of beneficiaries under PMUY has been expanded by including other categories to the existing SECC list.
“The scheme will now cover all SC/ST household beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin), Antyoday Anna Yojana, forest dwellers, and most backward classes having no LPG connection,” said R Garg, executive director, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Jaipur and state-level coordinator, oil industry Rajasthan.
The government has pushed the target number of beneficiaries in Rajasthan to 88 lakh from 53 lakh when the scheme was launched in 2016 out of which 26 lakh connections have already been given so far in the state.
In order to achieve the targets and also raise awareness about the safe use of LPG among rural consumers, the petroleum ministry is organizing Ujjwala Diwas on April 20 and is planning to hold 1006 LPG panchayats in Rajasthan. The initiative is organized across the country in 15000 panchayats.
“Each LPG panchayat will bring together about 500 women from the neighboring areas, providing a platform for Ujjwala LPG users to share information on how to use cooking gas safely and the spread the message of its multiple benefits for health, environment and empowering women,” added Garg.
He said the ministry will declare 21,000 villages in the country as smoke-free on May 5 this year, including 599 in Rajasthan. “All the households in these villages will have LPG and will not have to depend on other methods to cook food,” added Garg.
Nationally, the target has been increased from five crore connections to eight crores now and so far 3.6 crore connections have already been given to beneficiaries.
source: Times of India