Two flagship schemes of the Modi Government that have transformed the country are Swachh Bharat Mission and UJJWALA Yojana. Swachh Bharat is the most talked about scheme of the Modi Government, as along with sanitation this novel effort has ensured the dignity and health of people. The same revolutionary progress has also been taking place in other sectors as well, such as in LPG cylinder distribution.
A figure that stands apart and showcases the work done under the Swachh Bharat Mission is that the Modi Government in its 4.5 years has constructed more than 9.4 crore household toilets in both rural and urban areas put together. This in comparison with the period between 1947 and 2014 the number of household toilets built was only 6.37 crore. Similarly, in just 4.5 years of the Modi Government around 12 crore household LPG connections have been provided between 2014 and 2018, which stood at 13 crores from 1947 to 2014.
LPG Cylinder Connection- When the Numbers Speak for Themselves
Just like Swachh Bharat, LPG cylinder distribution, be it under Pradhan Mantri UJJWALA Yojana or through the general category, provides a layered benefit. Getting rid of indoor pollution by ensuring clean fuel is a primary thing, but in the process, it guarantees that the healthcare expenditure of the whole family is averted due to indoor pollution-related diseases. It gives women extra time to be more productive, which earlier she was forced to spend in collecting firewood. Another notable point is that LPG cylinders do not just assure ease of cooking but they elevate the overall standard of life. In this background, the below figures tell us how the present government has brought a LPG revolution:
- Number of household LPG connections in all these years after independence, that is, from 1947 to 2014 stood at 13 crores. Whereas, in just 4.5 years of the Modi Government 12 crore household LPG connections has been provided between 2014 and 2018.
- In percentage terms, household gas coverage was just 55% in 2014. It has increased to a whopping 90% under the Modi Government. This amounts to a 35% increase in such a short span of time.
Contribution of UJJWALA in Promoting Social Justice
It is a known fact that Pradhan Mantri UJJWALA Yojana has speeded up the LPG cylinder distribution and made it available for the poor people of this country. Before we read the numbers, a background explains its significance.
- Pradhan Mantri UJJWALA Yojana was launched on May 1, 2016. As per a WHO report, smoke inhaled by women from unclean fuel in an hour is equivalent to the smoke generated by burning of 400 cigarettes. It had also estimated that about 5 lakh deaths in India are due to the use of unclean cooking fuels.
- Number of BPL women who got LPG cylinders under the UJJWALA Yojana stands at 5.83 crores.
- Approximately 48% of UJJWALA beneficiaries belong to SC/ST households.
- Nearly 80% of UJJWALA beneficiaries, who have completed 1 year of connection release, have come back for the second refill.
- It is estimated that penetration of LPG cylinders to the north-eastern states will reach 80% by the end of 2018-19. Earlier, the deadline for the same was set to 2030.
- It should be noted that a ‘social volunteerism’ revolution has enabled this revolution to reach the grassroots. When Prime Minister gave a call to the well-off LPG consumers to voluntarily surrender their government subsidy by launching ‘Give It Up’ campaign, it resulted in more than 1.04 crore consumers giving up their subsidy voluntarily.
Vast Improvement in the Logistics’ Process
Whether it is LPG cylinder distribution in the general category or under UJJWALA, a seamless delivery system has been ensured under the current administration. A dedicated digital platform has also been put in place for registering grievance for oil and gas sector. The working population in cities can now schedule the delivery of LPG cylinders as per their convenience. Earlier under previous governments, LPG cylinder distribution was flagged with frequent delays and complaints.
As far as the LPG distribution in rural areas which mainly comes under UJJWALA scheme is concerned, Common Service Centres (CSCs) have been established are playing a major role in LPG distribution, in the following ways:
- CSCs will help beneficiary to scan and upload her KYC documents for verification of his/her identity for booking a new LPG connection.
- Beneficiaries can collect the LPG cylinder from their nearby CSCs.
- CSCs will also provide requisite information about the scheme and promote it among other citizens so that maximum number of beneficiaries can avail the given benefit.
- Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas is appointing 1 UJJWALA Didi for every 5 villages whose prime responsibility will be to support and give service to UJJWALA
- CSCs are also supporting in conducting sessions on using the safety mode and Refill option of using LPG cylinders. About 100 such LPG Panchayats have already been organized, where one-hour training and demo was given to UJJWALA beneficiaries.
- These CSCs have empowered a large number of rural women, by giving them employment.
City Gas Distribution
Along with the massive LPG cylinder distribution efforts, city gas distribution system has also been strengthened. On November 22, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone for the City Gas Distribution (CGD) Projects under the 9th CGD bidding round and launched 10th bidding round.
Till September 2018, in total 96 cities/districts across the country were covered for the development of CGD networks. About 46.5 lakh households and 32 lakh CNG vehicles are already availing the benefits of clean fuel through the existing CGD networks. To boost the expansion of PNG/CNG network, 9th CGD bidding round was launched in April 2018 for 86 geographical areas, covering 174 districts in 22 States/ Union Territories.
Now, with the launch of the 10th CGD bidding round, around 2 crore PNG (Domestic) connections and 4,600 CNG stations are expected to be installed in the next 8 years across the country.
The unfolding LPG cylinder revolution brought about both a qualitative and quantitative positive change in the society. While a large number of Indians was provided with the clean fuel, it is also the seamless qualitative service ensured for common people that matter to the common man.