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

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What Has the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana Achieved So Far?

The central government’s flagship programme to provide free liquefied petroleum gas connections has been in operation for two years, providing more than 3.5 crore free LPG connections to poor women. This much-needed scheme is a major step to reduce indoor air pollution, drudgery faced by women, and one that promises to extend LPG access. However, little is known about the progress of the scheme. Has it led to sustained use of clean fuels among poor households? There is need for more information about the scheme in the public domain for a comprehensive evaluation and mid-course correction.

The authors are grateful to Veena Joshi and Srihari Dukkipati for their comments on a draft version of this article.

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was launched in 2016 to distribute five crore liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to poor women free of cost by March 2019. As of early April 2018 more than 3.5 crore connections were provided under the scheme. Encouraged by the rapid release of connections, the central government revised the target and scope of the scheme to eight crore connections by March 2020. Under the scheme, the union government bears the connection cost of 1,600 per connection, and each household pays about 1,500 for the stove and the first LPG cylinder.

The announcement of PMUY and the recent increase of its target, marks a significant shift in the governments approach to providing access to clean cooking fuels. For the first time, it chose to aggressively pursue providing modern cooking fuels to all Indian households. This is an important step since household air pollution (HAP) arising from combustion of solid fuels for cooking is a major contributor to four of the top five causes of mortality and morbidity in India, and HAP is also a significant contributor to outdoor air pollution (IHME 2017; ICMR, PHFI, and IHME 2017; IIT Bombay, HEI and IHME 2018). Recent research suggests that providing clean cooking fuels to all can be a highly cost-effective health intervention (Smith and Sagar 2014; Prayas 2018). In addition, collection and use of solid fuels for cooking increases the drudgery and adversely impacts time-use by women (Desai and Vanneman 2016; Desai et al 2010). The scheme also aims at addressing these issues (PIB 2016b).1

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Published On : 18th May, 2018

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