Topics Covered: Schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)
What to study?
For Prelims: PMU- key features.
For Mains: PMUY- objectives, features, significance and measures needed to sustain the momentum.
Context: CAG report raises concerns about Ujjwala scheme.
- There is the issue of low consumption, diversions and considerable delays in supply of cylinders.
- Encouraging the sustained usage of LPG remains a big challenge as the annual average refill consumption of 1.93 crore PMUY consumers (who have completed more than one year as on 31 March 2018) was only 3.66 refills as worked out by audit.
- Similar analysis for 3.18 crore PMUY beneficiaries as on 31 December 2018 revealed that refill consumption declined to 3.21 refills per annum.
- There are also deficiencies such as the issuance of connections to unintended beneficiaries, and problems with the software of the state-run oil marketing companies for identifying intended beneficiaries and inadequacies in the de-duplication process.
Recommendations made by CAG:
- Thee should be scrutiny of the entire LPG database to identify and restrict anomalies.
- Aadhaar numbers of all adult family members of existing as well as new beneficiaries should be entered to make de-duplication effective.
- Appropriate measures in distributors’ software should be put in place to restrict issuance to ineligible beneficiaries.
Key features of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
Aim: To provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.
Key features: A deposit-free LPG connection is given to eligible with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.
The scheme gained traction with its ambit being expanded to include 80 million poor families from the earlier target of 50 million families with an additional allocation of Rs4,800 crore.
- Applicant must a woman above the age of 18 and a citizen of India.
- Applicant should belong to a BPL (Below Poverty Line) household.
- No one in the applicant’s household should own an LPG connection.
- The household income of the family, per month, must not exceed a certain limit as defined by the government of the Union Territories and State Government.
- The name of the applicant must be in the list of SECC-2011 data and should match with the information available in the BPL database that Oil Marketing Companies have.
- Applicant must not be a recipient of other similar schemes provided by the government.
Value addition for Mains:
Objectives of the scheme are:
- Empowering women and protecting their health.
- Reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel.
- Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
- Preventing young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuel.
What makes LPG adoption necessary?
To reduce household air pollution:
- A large section of Indians, especially women and girls, are exposed to severe household air pollution (HAP) from the use of solid fuels such as biomass, dung cakes and coal for cooking.
- A report from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare places HAP as the second leading risk factor contributing to India’s disease burden.
A health threat:
According to the World Health Organization, solid fuel use is responsible for about 13% of all mortality and morbidity in India (measured as Disability-Adjusted Life Years), and causes about 40% of all pulmonary disorders, nearly 30% of cataract incidences, and over 20% each of ischemic heart disease, lung cancer and lower respiratory infection.
How can the scheme be made more effective?
The real test of the PMUY and its successor programmes will be in how they translate the provision of connections to sustained use of LPG or other clean fuels such as electricity or biogas.
Truly smokeless kitchens can be realized only if the government follows up with measures that go beyond connections to actual usage of LPG. This may require concerted efforts cutting across Ministries beyond petroleum and natural gas and including those of health, rural development and women and child welfare.
Sources: the Hindu.