The Union Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its nod to the continuation of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) to provide 7.5 million LPG connections.
This extension will span three years, from the financial year 2023-24 to 2025-26, with a total allocation of Rs 1,650 crore.
The scheme will offer connections at the following rates:
- 14.2 kg single bottle connection – Rs 2,200 per connection
- 5 kg double bottle connection – Rs 2,200 per connection
- 5 kg single bottle connection – Rs 1,300 per connection
Under the existing Ujjwala 2.0 framework, beneficiaries of Ujjwala will also receive the first refill and a stove for free. Additionally, PMUY consumers will benefit from a targeted subsidy of Rs 200 per 14.2 kg LPG cylinder for up to 12 refills per year.
This news comes after the centre cut LPG prices by Rs 200 in response to oil companies increasing domestic LPG prices at the end of August. In July, oil companies increased the price of domestic LPG cylinders by Rs 50. Earlier, the prices were raised twice in the month of May.
The continuation of PMUY is vital to ensure that eligible low-income households receive the scheme's intended benefits and facilitate access to clean cooking fuel. This shift away from traditional sources of cooking fuel like firewood, coal, and cow dung can improve health outcomes by reducing the health risks associated with indoor air pollution.
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Moreover, it will enhance the productivity and quality of life for women by eliminating the burdens of wood collection and safeguarding against cooking fuel shortages.
Despite the progress made, some eligible households still lack access to LPG connections due to various factors such as population growth, marriages, migration, and remote locations. As of August 31, 2023, there is a demand for 1.5 million PMUY connections.
So far the scheme has increased LPG usage in the country from 62 per cent in 2016 to near saturation levels today, according to the official release by the Cabinet. The PMUY was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2016, and aimed to distribute 50 million LPG connections to women of below poverty line (BPL) families.
An allocation of Rs 8,000 crore was made for the scheme. It was replaced by the Ujjwala Yojana 2.0 in 2021.