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Ujjwala is a social change catalyst, not just about LPG: Govt

Mar 01, 2018

With the success of Ujjwala Yojna, the Indian government has raised the targeted outreach to 8 crore from 5 crore beneficiaries by the year 2020.

Ranchi: Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das lamented that Jharkhand is a rich state with poor people. Talking about the benefits of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in Ranchi, he said that 44 per cent of the beneficiaries belong to marginalised sections included SCs, STs and women.

PMUY provides subsidised LPG connections to women from below-poverty-line (BPL) households to protect them from health hazards and other related drudgeries. The scheme was being run on a pilot basis in Dumka of Jharkhand since October 2015 before being launched across India in May 2016.

Das was speaking at second edition of ‘The LPG: Catalyst of Social Change’ conclave in Ranchi organised early this week. Aimed at assessing the PMUY, the conclave brought to the fore diverse thoughts with speakers including government representatives, oil marketing companies, civil society, academia and grassroots leaders like elected village heads.

Das called upon the prosperous people to guide India in the 21st century. “LPG is a symbol of prosperity but now through Ujjwala, the flagship programme of the Indian government that aims to provide below poverty line households with free connections, LPG is also available to poor people.”

Ujjwala Yojana was one of the few flagship schemes of the government that found a place in this year’s budget. Also, the target for Ujjwala Yojana was ambitiously raised from 50 million households to 80 million in next three years.

India’s Minister of Petroleum &Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan said that Ujjwala Yojna helps households particularly those that are economically marginalised to prevent expenses on various provisions like health.

Das said that India consumes 24 million metric tonnes of LPG with influential people consuming seven cylinders in a year, but it is only through Ujjwala that the poor are being benefited. “Subsidy on Ujjwala scheme is a social investment. About 2.5 crore people today are not taking LPG subsidy. More than 19 crores are however still taking subsidy,” he said.

Pradhan said that Ujjwala scheme has become catalyst for social change. “Ujjwala has a target of reaching 8 crores by 2020. So far 3.40 lakhs have already been benefited by Ujwala. Ujjwala has provided 9 crores 4 lakh LPG gas connection in the last 4 years,” he said.

Talking about the utility of the scheme in the poor households, Pradhan said that 80 per cent of Ujjwala consumers had taken four cylinders. “Jharkhand Ujwala consumers have taken three cylinders as refuel,” he said.

Talking in context of the tribal dominated sate, he said that Jharkhand will produce enough gas for its transport and domestic needs. Pradhan also informed about Indian govt’s plans of encouraging new solar panel based cooking stoves.

Kirk R Smith, a Nobel laureate and a professor of global environment health at University of California, said that Ujjwala is a social investment that brings social benefits to the society. “India can be proud of this Ujjwala scheme for making a provision of clean fuel for millions of women.”

Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre for Science and Environment, said that Ujjwala Yojna scheme had the potential of correcting the historic injustice meted out to the poor and women.

Ashutosh Jindal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, said that Ujjwala has countless success and best practices.

Mita Priyadarshini, CEO, Research Development Institute, said that Ujjwala is empowering women in their very own domains, that is, kitchens.

Mita said that the conference aimed at looking at Ujjwala as a means of socio economic change. “The LPG scheme is acting as a catalyst for social change. Looking at its potential, the target for Ujjwala programme beneficiaries has been raised from 5 crores to 8 crores,” she said.

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