The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), which many feel, played the role of a game-changer for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the assembly elections, has been an instant hit among the economically weaker section of the society.
Within a year of its national launch from Balia in UP on May 1, 2016, the scheme has already benefited nearly 57.57 lakh BPL households which is about 27% of the country’s total poor households.
The scheme under which free (subsidised) LPG connections are provided to female members of the BPL may cover all the eligible beneficiaries in UP a year before the target.
- Since the scheme is available to the BPL households only, the lowest number of LPG connections has been released in Western UP districts which are relatively more prosperous. Shamli, Baghpat and Gautam Buddh Nagar districts have been found to be on the bottom. On the other side, Sitapur, Kushinagar and Allahabad have been found on the top in distribution of LPG connections due to the presence of a large number of beneficiaries there.
Information available with various oil companies reveal that as many as 57,57,398 LPG connections ( with stove, cylinder, pipe etc) were delivered to as many BPL families in UP between May 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017, which is more than one-fourth of the total 2,16,59,870 such connections provided in the entire country during the same period.
Sitapur district with the presence of 4.49 lakh BPL households has achieved the first position in the country by distributing 2.30 lakh LPG connections under the Ujjwala scheme till March 31, claimed Swarn Singh, the district nodal officer.
Against the 1,04,257 forms filled by the applicants in the Lucknow district, 88,487 LPG connections were delivered to the beneficiaries within a year. “Lucknow was supposed to give 2 lakh connections in three years but it is through with more than 44% of the target in the first year itself with aggressive publicity campaign and corresponding response,” claimed Sukesh, the district coordinator.
In Varanasi, which is also Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, 55,455 connections have been given out of 67,553 applications received so far and is expected to achieve the target within a year. “In Varanasi district, the total number of eligible BPL households is around 1.47 lakh of whom 36,000 are in urban areas and hence are unlikely to opt for the scheme as they might already be using LPG for cooking,” explained Satyam, district coordinator.
“Considering the facts, we have already covered more than 1/3rd of the beneficiaries and we are hoping to achieve the target in 2018, a year in advance,” he added. Uttar Pradesh, as whole, has a list of 1.24 crore beneficiaries/BPL households as identified by the socio-economic survey, 2011 and it has to cover them by March 2019 as a national target set by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas.
UP has already achieved 46% of the total target in the first year against the all-India average of 43% which is also quite impressive. A total 5 crore LPG connections are to be given in the entire country under the Ujjawala scheme in three years by 2019.
Majority opt for EMI option
A majority of the beneficiaries in UP have gone for the EMI option to avail the scheme and percentage of such people is again more in the poor districts.
Under the PMUY where government provides a subsidy of Rs 1600 on each LPG connection to a BPL family, the beneficiaries have the option to pay the amount at one go or opt for the EMI scheme where they can pay the amount in easy interest-free installments. Under this option their EMI amount is adjusted against the subsidy amount due to the consumer on each refill of the cylinder.
It is revealed around 76% of the beneficiaries have opted for the EMI option so far and rest 24% the cash option. The figure, however, differs from district to district.