Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), the Modi government’s initiative to provide clean cooking fuel to poor households of the country has brought transformational changes in the society. In the fiscal year 2018-19, more than 4 crore new LPG connections were given. This is a 45 percent increase over the 2.81 crore new connections added last fiscal year.
The largest public sector oil marketing companies which has set a target to add 4.25 crore new customers were the major beneficiary. There were 14.8 crore LPG consumers in the country as of 31st March 2015, the consumer base has increased to 26.16 crores as of February end. This is a 77 percent jump in the last four fiscal years in the number of LPG consumers. The total number of LPG dealership added this year is 3,030 compared to 724 in 2017-18.
The northern region which comprises more than one-third of the country’s population has the highest share in LPG consumption with 32.8 percent. The southern region has the second highest share with 27.2 percent followed by western, eastern, and northeastern regions which have 22.9 percent, 15 percent and 2 percent share respectively. Out of 26.16 crore LPG consumers 24.27 crores are covered under the direct benefit of LPG subsidy.
On 1st May 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 a financial support of Rs. 1600 per connection in 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. 8000 crore rupees budget was earmarked for this project. In this year’s budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced 4,800 crores for the scheme to target 8 crore households, a target expected to be achieved by 2020.
So far 6.89 crore connections have been provided in the 714 districts of the country. However, with the exponential growth in the number of consumers, the subsidy amount is also increasing. In April to December 2018, more than 25,000 crore rupees compared to 20,000 crore rupees shelled out from government coffers in FY18. For the next fiscal year, the subsidy is expected to rise to 32,989 crore rupees. There are 24.27 crore subsidy beneficiaries in the country with only 2 crore consumers not availing the benefits of the subsidy scheme. “With the number of consumers rising exponentially, it is time the government should consider further rationalizing LPG subsidy,” said an expert.
India has become the second largest Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) consumer after the Modi government’s push to provide clean cooking fuel to every household. The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of LPG consumer has been 15 percent under the Modi government. The number has grown from 14.8 crores in 2014-15 to 26.16 crore in February 2019. Indian Oil Corporation has the highest share of customers with 12 crores followed by 7 crores for Hindustan Petroleum and 6.6 crores for Bharat Petroleum.
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.