Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan has hailed the government’s decision to provide free LPG connections to 1.5 crore BPL women as historic. Reacting to the budget proposal, Mr Pradhan said the Scheme Ujjwala will not only have immense health benefits for the women and their children by providing a clean cooking fuel, but also provide significant ecological dividends.
The Union Budget 2016 on Monday allocated Rs 2,000 Cr to provide LPG connections to 1.5 crore women belonging to the below poverty line (BPL) families during the year 2016-17. The LPG connection will be in the name of women member of the poor household. The Scheme will be continued for at least two more years to cover a total of 5 crore BPL households. This is the first time that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas would implement a welfare scheme benefitting crores of rural women.
According to WHO estimates, about 5 lakh women die in India due to unclean cooking fuels. Most of these premature deaths are due to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.
The Ujjwala scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households. The identification of eligible BPL families, as proposed in the Budget for 2016-17, will be made in consultation with the State Governments and the Union Territories. While providing the new connections to BPL households, priorities would be given to the uncovered States and pockets, particularly in the Eastern region of the country. This will be done in consonance with Prime Minister’s vision for development of Eastern India.