- Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)
- Loopholes in LPG connection
- Suggestions by CAG to eradicate the problems found
- Role of Oil Marketing Companies in PMUY
- Harmful effects of solid fuels and indoor air pollution
- Benefits of using LPG
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana: The Success Graph
For IASToppers Mains Articles Archive, Click Here
In a Performance Audit Report, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has said that encouraging the sustained usage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) remains a big challenge. The beneficiaries are not opting for enough refills of cooking gas cylinders.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)
- Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched by Prime Minister of India in May 2016.
- Under this scheme, 5 crore LPG connections will be provided to Below poverty line (BPL) families over a period of three years.
- A cash assistance of Rs 1,600 is given to each beneficiary to get a deposit-free new connection.
- The connections are given in the name of the women heads of households. Money that has been saved due to the ‘Give-it-up’ subsidy campaign is used for this scheme.
- The government is of the view that Ujjwala is part of the ambitious agenda for behavioural change that will help India transit to a $5 trillion economy by 2024.
- Only adult women with Below Poverty Line are eligible.
- Identification of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families will be done through Socio Economic Caste Census Data.
Loopholes in LPG connection
Recently, Union government released a report ‘Performance Audit of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna’.
Highlights of the report
Distribution of LPG connections
- Only 42% connections were issued on the basis of beneficiary Aadhaar (In order to rule out existing LPG connection in beneficiaries’ household, de-duplication was to be carried out on Aadhaar of all family members).
- Laxity in identification of beneficiaries as some connections were issued against Abridged Household List Temporary Identification Numbers (AHL TINs) where names of beneficiary were blank in SECC-2011 list. (AHL TINs is generated by the Census Department which provides a unique number to identify a person by name, age, address, family details and cast.)
- Several connections released against AHL TIN of males and connections given to people below 18 years of age due to lack of input validation check in software. (PMUY envisaged release of LPG connection in the name of woman).
- An LPG connection issued for more than one time to a single person.
- Delay of more than 1 year in installation of connections against stipulated time period of seven days.
Compliance to safety standards
- Instances of unsafe LPG practices by PMUY beneficiaries were observed as the stoves were kept below the level of cylinder, non-standard hose pipe was being used etc.
- Inadequate efforts in commissioning new LPG distributorships by OMCs led to a compelling situation for existing LPG distributors to supply cylinders either at long distance or from godown instead of door delivery.
- Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) and Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) had highlighted the importance of small 5 Kg cylinders to make PMUY successful considering high refill cost as a barrier to LPG usage, however, inadequacy of efforts was noticed as only 0.24 % beneficiaries were provided 5 Kg cylinder connections.
Transition of BPL households to LPG
- Encouraging the sustained usage of LPG remains a big challenge as the annual average refill consumption of PMUY consumers was only 3.66 refills.
- Low consumption of refills (up to three) had hindered recovery of outstanding loan taken by government under PMUY.
- The government claims that around 87% beneficiaries have returned for at least second refill. The total number of refills including installation against PMUY connections crossed more than40 crores.
Suggestions by CAG to eradicate the problems found
- Aadhaar numbers of all adult family members of existing as well as new beneficiaries should be entered in the system to ensure that there is no duplication.
- By maintaining a centralized list of names of those who had given up their subsidies, independent of the gas company, and displaying their photographs.
- The PMUY beneficiaries in nil or low consumption category need to be encouraged for sustained usage.
- Cases of high consumption of refills should be regularly reviewed to curb diversion.
- Need for scrutiny of the entire LPG database to identify and restrict anomalies.
- E-KYC needs to be initiated to ensure correct information and authenticate genuineness of the PMUY beneficiaries.
- Appropriate input controls, data validations and mandatory fields should be deployed in distributors’ software to restrict issuance of LPG connections to ineligible beneficiaries.
- Third-Party Audit may be got carried out to assess the implementation of scheme.
- Massive safety campaigns need to be organized in order to ensure safe usage of LPG by PMUY beneficiaries.
- The cooking fuel should be available at an affordable cost to back up the initial provision of subsidised connections.
- The distribution system needs to be strengthened to be able to meet the expected increase in demand, particularly in rural areas, as non-availability of fuel could push people back towards using solid fuels.
- While the PMUY targets only BPL households, there is a need to widen the programme as many non-BPL households may also not be able to afford LPG connections.
Role of Oil Marketing Companies in PMUY
- The lower consumption has a financial impact for the oil marketing companies (OMCs).
- Under the PMUY, the public sector OMCs offered deposit free LPG connections to below poverty line households. The upfront cost of the connection was recovered by the OMC from the subsidy accrued on subsequent refills by the consumers.
Harmful effects of solid fuels and indoor air pollution
- In India, indoor air pollution is the second biggest killer after high blood pressure.
- According to Census 2011, nearly 121 million households used traditional stoves (chullha) that trapped them in a highly polluted environment.
- Approximately 800,000 premature deathsoccur in India every year as a result of exposure to Household Air Pollution (HAP).
- The estimate for the contribution of HAP is around 30%,far greater than that of industries (2%-10%), power plants (8%-15%), and transportation (8% -11%).
- According to the World Health Organization, solid fuel use is responsible for about 13 %of all mortality and morbidity in India 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.
Benefits of using LPG
- LPG is an energy-rich fuel source with a higher calorific value than other commonly used fuels which means that an LPG flame burns hotter, an advantage that can translate into higher efficiency.
- It is a fuel that is available in even the remotest of areas providing a further impetus to regional development.
- It is a clean burning fuel that is low carbon, emits virtually no black carbon and does not spills.
- LPG can be accessible to everyone everywhere without major infrastructure investment. LPG protects the users from the hazards of smoke inhalation. It also helps the poor from having to go to unsafe areas to collect firewood.
Even though, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawla Yojana has been started with a good intention, the objective will be achieved only when the poor households of villages and urban areas would be able to, not only, gain a LPG connection successfully but would also use it regularly.
The next step in the implementation of the scheme is to ensure that every poor household with LPG connection are able to refill the LPG bottles and use it sustainably.