On 10 March 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana with a budget of 8000 Crore Rupees to provide LPG connections at free of cost to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) Families. This scheme was also announced in the Union Budget of year 2016-17. This initiative has been taken by Prime Minister PM Modi to facilitate the ways of living in the rural and semi urban areas of the country.

Features of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:

Since long years, women of India have faced many health issues due to the burning of fuels during cooking food. They have suffered a lot. To provide a remedial solution for their health and to improvise the cooking process, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had announced this scheme. It will also empower women living in the rural areas and also ensure their protective health. The connections will be given to the women members of BPL families and poor households.

  • This scheme will provide 5 Crore LPG connections to the families who belong to BPL categories.

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana will be implemented over three years, the FY 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019.

  • Under this scheme, financial support of Rupees 1600 will be provided for each LPG connection to the BPL families.

  • There will be consultation with the Union Territories and State Government so that the eligible BPL families will be identified.

  • This Scheme will provide benefits to approx. 1 Crore 50 Lakh people below poverty line.

  • BPL families will get LPG connections from April of this year and there will a target to cover maximum BPL families up to March 2019.

  • Poor families who have limited access to cooking gas will be given connection. This scheme will cover many middle class families and affluent households in the urban and semi urban areas.


BPL Families:

In India, an economic threshold or benchmark is used to term the people below the poverty line. When the family earning is below that threshold value, then these are considered as BPL families. Various parameters are used to identify the financial status of the families and these may vary from state to state.

Poverty Line in India:

The Indian Government has defined the poverty line with a method which is based on the total expenditures of the family for daily needs.

Ninth Five Year Plan (1995-2002): The total number of Below Poverty Line Families during 9th plan were 650000, which was set on the basis of family income (less than 20000). In 2002, total 387000 BPL families were identified. After that, the poverty line was decided on the basis of monthly expenses on food, health, electricity, education and transport.

Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007): During 10th plan, the degree of deprivation was based on the thirteen parameters which include: landholding, food security, literacy status, sanitation, clothing, consumer durables, labour force, status of children, means of livelihood, cause of migration and type of indebtedness. According to survey reports, there were total 363 million people who lived in poverty.

Significance of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:

In our nation, it has been observed that people living under the poverty line have limited access to LPG connections and because of which they have to suffer a lot. Even the fossil fuels which are used by them for cooking or other homely tasks cause many health hazards like respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, lung infection, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. It has also become the major cause of premature deaths in India. According to World Health Organization, there were 5 lakh deaths reported with the cooking based on the fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels also causes environment pollution. The polluted air entrapped inside the living areas is harmful for the young kids. According to the expertise reports, it is observed that the open fire in kitchen areas causes pollution equivalent to the burning of 400 cigarettes/hour.

This will be the major initiative that has been taken by the Prime Minister of India to help poor people who are struggling hard for the living. It will be the first time in history that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has agreed to implement the welfare scheme which will improve the living standards of people. For Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, budget provision of Rs. 2000 Crore had announced by the Finance Minister in 2016-17 to provide free LPG connections to women belonging to BPL families.

Providing LPG connections under this scheme will also ensure the health standards of the families living in the rural areas. This in turn, effectively reduce the illness and disease rate. It will also save the time of women which they have to spend while cooking food. The rural youth in the different states will get employment for supplying LPG cylinders to the families.

Contributor: Sunpreet Kaur