Monday, January 17, 2022

LPG consumers on a rise, 29.11 Crore consumers since 2016

There has been a rise in the number of LPG customers in the country since 2016. According to the Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Rameswar Teli, as on April 1, 2016, there were a total 16.62 crore LPG customers in the country which has increased to 29.11 crore as on July 1, 2021.

According to Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, there are a total of 4.25 crore LPG connections in Uttar Pradesh as per the data of April-June 2021. The numbers have significantly increased from the past years. Previously, there were 4.23 crore consumers in 2020-21, 4.04 crore in 2019-20 and 3.76 crore in 2018-19, implying a significant increase in LPG consumers.

What led to the rise in LPG customers?

Central Government sponsored schemes, like the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has a major role to play in the increase of LPG customers. The scheme benefited 5 crore families living below the poverty line. Their dependence on wood decreased, and their health improved. They also got cash assistance to get a deposit-free new connection. Around 80 million households have availed the benefits of free cooking gas connection.

Ujjwala Yojana 1.0

In May 2016, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), introduced the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) with the aim to empower and safeguard the women. Under the scheme, LPG replaced traditional cooking fuels such as firewood, coal, cow-dung cakes etc, which are both detrimental to the environment and the women health.

The target under the scheme was to release 8 crore LPG connections to the deprived households by March 2020. On September 7, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed over 8 crore LPG connection in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. The release of 8 crore LPG connections under the scheme has also helped in increasing the LPG coverage from 62% on May 1, 2016 to 99.8% as on April 1, 2021.

Ujjwala Yojana 2.0

Under the Union Budget for FY 21-22, provision for release of additional 1 crore LPG connections under the PMUY scheme was made. In this phase, special facility has been given to migrant families. Ujjwala 2.0 aims to provide deposit-free LPG connections to the low-income families who could not be covered under the first phase of PMUY.

PAHAL

The first phase of the modified PAHAL scheme was re-launched in 54 districts in 2014. The modified scheme met the drawback of requiring an Aadhaar number to avail the LPG connection by providing the beneficiaries alternate option to receive LPG subsidy in his bank account by two methods.

Minister of State, Rameswar Teli also informed that the LPG customers, who have joined the PAHAL Scheme, are cash transfer compliant. As on July 1,2021, out of total 29.11 crore LPG customers, 27.27 crore have joined the Scheme and they are Cash Transfer Compliant (CTC).

Other Initiatives

Issuance of LPG connections is a continuous process.The central government has also made the process of getting a LPG connection easier and simpler than before. The LPG distributors need to register the connection request as soon as it is received. Further, the Government has been reviewing the distributorship network to meet the increased demand for LPG. Since 2014, the government has improved the supply infrastructure in the LPG sector to meet the increased demand for LPG.

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has contributed in making the country the world’s second largest LPG consumer. According to the estimates of the Ministry of Petroleum, LPG consumption is expected to increase to 303 million tonnes by 2025. By 2040, this figure will be 40.6 million tonnes.

Transforming lives through LPG

LPG has transformed the lives of the destitute, empowering them through socio-economic inclusion. LPG connection has transformed the life of women in the economically weaker family. The PMUJ cash assistance up to Rs 1,600 is provided for releasing deposit free LPG connection. Further, it also provides loan facility to the beneficiary to bear the cost of hot plate or the first refill from Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) at zero interest rate.

The government encouraged the consumption of LPG across the country, especially in the rural areas. This has helped raise the standard of living and confidence, and aided in reduction of health issues due to smoke from traditional cooking fuel. Another benefit of LPG connection is getting speedy cooking, thus, women in the homes can allot their time to other activities, as time is saved in collection of wood, or preparing coal for the cooking process.

LPG connections have promoted a shift towards cleaner cooking fuels and reduced pollution.

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