The Modi government is likely to further expand its Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) with a focus on delivery to the lowest strata of population and use of smaller 5 kg LPG cylinders, reports Economic Times.
Under the Ujjwala scheme, which was rolled out in the country from Uttar Pradesh in 2016, below poverty line (BPL) families are provided gas connections with a support of Rs 1,600 for each connection.
According to the report, the Ujjwala connections have so far reached 71.9 million mark, 8.1 million short of targeted 80 million connections. The target is expected to be completed within the first 100 days of the new government.
After achieving the target, use of 5 kg cylinders would be made mandatory under the scheme, in which the connection is provided in the name of a female member of the family, to ensure availability across the country and help support cooking gas refills.
"The average LPG cylinder refill under Ujjwala is a pathetic 3 per annum while the national average stands close to seven refills in a year. Price of cylinders is a big factor here as refills are not 100 per cent subsidised," a public sector oil marketing company executive was quoted in the report as saying.
"The use of smaller cylinders under the scheme can change all this," he added.
According to a study by the Petroleum ministry, one of the main reasons behind fewer BPL families using the LPG cylinders is the high cost for a 14.2 kg cylinder.
As per the report, while the 14.2 kg cylinder costs Rs 712 in Delhi, the subsidy amount paid in the bank account under direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme is around Rs 215. The customers have to pay around Rs 500 from their pockets, which many of the BPL families are unable to do.
However, in the case of 5 kg cylinder, the refills can be had at one-third the price of a regular cylinder. The cost of 5 kg cylinder-refill in Delhi is around Rs 260, with a subsidy of Rs 80 credited to the bank account. The effective cost would be around Rs 180, which will make it easier for the beneficiaries to buy refills.
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