Enlightening Rural Lives
To rescue rural women from the ills of indoor smoke, PMUY has provided over a crore LPG connections to the deprived in an attempt to secure their health and ease everyday convenience.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, in May 2016 to provide clean cooking fuel to five crore women, has proven to be a great success as the number of applicants under the scheme has swelled to one lakh per day.
According to official data, about 1.27 lakh PMUY applications were received on April 10 and 1.55 lakh on April 13 – scripting the success story of the PM's flagship scheme implemented across the country under the guidance of Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Under Ujjwala Yojana, 712 districts have been covered and 3,78,91,211 LPG connections have been released to BPL beneficiaries.
Aiming to expand its outreach and cover a wider spectrum of households, the government has extended the benefits of the scheme to various other sections of the population from April 1, 2018. The scheme has been opened to include all SC and ST households, beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Antyodaya Anna Yojana, forest dwellers, most backward classes, tea garden and ex-tea garden tribes, and people residing in islands or river islands.
Launched in May 2016, a sum of Rs 8,000 crore was allocated for the scheme along with the target to provide five crore LPG connections to BPL families with a support of Rs 1,600 per connection in the next three years. However, given the success of the scheme under which 3.57 crore LPG connections have already been released, in the 2018 Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made an additional allocation Rs 4,800 crore, further increasing the target to eight crore beneficiaries. The revised target would be achieved by 2020.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiative to provide a shield to women and children from smoke has been acknowledged by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The global health body has admired the objectives of the Ujjwala Yojana in its new pollution report.
"Countries are undertaking measures to tackle and reduce air pollution from particulate matter. For example, in just two years, India's Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana scheme has provided some 37 million women living below the poverty line with free LPG connections to support their switch to clean household energy use," said WHO in its report.
Over 100 beneficiaries of PMUY interacted with the Prime Minister at his residence in February.
During the informal interaction with PM Narendra Modi, the beneficiaries detailed how their lives had improved through the use of LPG cylinders. In response to their observations, the Prime Minister mentioned the Saubhagya Yojana, which has been launched to provide electrical connections to each home.
While emphasising on the need to end all forms of discrimination against the girl child, the PM exhorted the gathering to work towards ensuring cleanliness in villages. He said that this would improve the health of the entire village, in almost the same way as the Ujjwala Yojana had improved the health of their family members.
MAKING INDIA SMOKE-FREE
India is home to more than 24 crore households, of which, about 10 crore households are still deprived of LPG and have to rely on firewood, coal, etc as primary sources of cooking.
The smoke from burning such fuels causes alarming levels of household pollution and severe respiratory diseases among women and children. As per a WHO report, smoke inhaled by women from unclean fuel is equivalent to burning 400 cigarettes in an hour.
PMUY aims to safeguard the health of women and children by providing them with clean cooking fuel and preventing any compromsie on their health.
Every Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana LPG connection is free of cost and includes the security deposit of a 14.2 kg LPG cylinder, pressure regulator, suraksha hose, DGCC booklet and administration and installation cost for a distributor.
Ensuring women's empowerment, especially in rural India, the connections would be issued in the name of the women of the households. PMUY is likely to result in an additional employment of over one lakh individuals and also provide a business opportunity of at least Rs 10,000 crore.
The launch of this scheme is also providing a great boost to the Make in India campaign, as all the manufacturers of cylinders, gas stoves, regulators, and gas hose are domestic. The launch of PMUY in Ballia was followed by the launch of the scheme in Dahod in Gujarat by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and BJP president Amit Shah.
Parallel efforts on multiple fronts and help from different quarters have ensured brisk implementation of PMUY. PMUY has been implemented by meticulous planning, in a time-bound and mission-mode manner.
There has been continuous engagement and support by the Ministry for regular follow-ups based on ground feedback. The Petroleum Ministry has been closely interacting with the Oil Marketing Companies and their District Nodal Officers (DNOs). Significant IT developments at Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and National Informatics Centre (NIC) have also helped in its speedy implementation
Daily MIS reporting on industry basis through PMIS; a dedicated website for PMUY (www.pmujjwalayojna.com); a toll-free number (18002666696) have also been employed.
Freedom fighters, ex-servicemen, other prominent personalities, NGOs and self-help groups have all been involved by the way of special drives. A 360° media campaign was launched in regional languages through newspapers, TV, radio, banners, hoardings/standees, social media, etc. to create awareness.
PMUY has endeavoured to protect the livelihood of lakhs of rural Indian women who are compelled to use traditional methods of fuel that are adverse to their well-being. In the process of implementing the scheme, the women of rural India are walking towards holistic empowerment.