ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From LPG Connections to Use

Realising Smokeless Kitchens for All

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, to provide concessional LPG connections, is a step in the right direction but much more needs to be done by 2019 and beyond to ensure homes in India cook using modern fuels. This article explores the issues of providing connections, subsidy provisioning and ensuring sustained use of LPG and other modern fuels, so as to displace solid fuels from Indian kitchens. It also highlights the need for planning for increased demand and addressing institutional gaps to ensure that the benefits of modern fuel adoption, especially health benefits, are realised.

This is a longer version of an op-ed that has been accepted for publication in the Hindu. The authors would like to thank Shrinivas Darak and Ritu Parchure for their inputs and comments.

As part of the Budget Speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that he was setting aside ₹ 2,000 crore to subsidise the cost of acquiring liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections for 1.5 crore below poverty line (BPL) households. This was followed by the announcement of a more ambitious `8,000 crore scheme called the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), which aims to provide subsidised connections to five crore BPL households by 2019 (PIB 2016a). PMUY is part of a larger programme of adding 10 crore new LPG connections by 2019 to achieve near-universal connection coverage in Indian households (PTI 2016).

According to Census 2011, solid fuels such as firewood, crop residue, coal, and dung-cakes are used by about 17 crore Indian households as their primary fuel for cooking, with 88% of rural households reliant on such fuels. Burning such fuels results in severe household air pollution which is identified as the second leading contributor to India’s disease burden (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare 2015). In comparison, poor sanitation, that has received much needed attention lately, ranks 15th.

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