Since the Modi government stormed to power, the culture of projects getting delayed seems to have become the thing of past. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has achieved its target of providing Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) connection to 5 crores ‘Below Poverty Line’ (BPL) families before the deadline of 31st March 2019. Lok Sabha Speaker handed over the 5th crore connection in the month of August 2018. Now, the government has decided to extend the scheme to all ration card holding families. After the extension of the scheme, the number of beneficiaries has reached the 6 crore mark. On January 2, 2019, the sixth crore gas connection was handed over to Jasmina Khatoon who hails from Shivpark in Delhi.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan were present at the event when 6th crore gas connection was handed over. While speaking at the event Naidu said that India aims to become the 3rd largest economy in the world soon and scheme like PMUY is set to contribute to the nation’s growth story.
On May 1st, 2016, PM Modi launched Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. Under this programme, 5 crore LPG connections were to be provided to BPL families with the financial support of Rs. 1600 per connection for the next 3 years. With the clear intent of empowering women, the connections were to be issued in the name of women of the households. A budget of 8000 crores was earmarked for this project. In this year’s budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced 4,800 crores for the scheme to target almost 8 crore households, a target expected to be achieved by 2020. The scheme has been proved highly successful by adding more than 6 crore beneficiaries.
The scheme was launched to provide clean energy to marginalized people of India who used firewood, dung cakes, coal, or kerosene for cooking. According to WHO estimates, about 5 lakh deaths in India occurred due to unclean cooking fuels. Indoor air pollution is also responsible for a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses in young children. According to experts, having an open fire in the kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes in an hour.
The money for the scheme came from the highly pitched #GiveItUp campaign under which crores of well-off families gave up their subsidies. After that, the LPG subsidies were linked to JAM (Jan-Dhan, Aadhar, and Mobile) accounts which helped the government to eliminate fake/duplicate customers.
Schemes like Ujjwala Yojana and Awas Yojana (Gramin) and Antyodaya Anna Yojana have contributed to the betterment of the marginalized section of the society. More than 44% of Ujjwala beneficiaries are from SC/ST communities and hence the scheme can be said to be yielding good results by safeguarding the health of women and children in poor households. The state of Uttar Pradesh where the maximum number of families got benefited by the Ujjwala Yojana voted BJP to power with a full majority in 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections. The party hopes for same results in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections through its welfare schemes.