In a significant move aimed at improving the lives of women and ensuring access to clean cooking fuel, the Union Cabinet, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the extension of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). This extension will see the release of 75 lakh LPG connections over the course of three years, spanning from the Financial Year 2023-24 to 2025-26.
The total financial allocation for this initiative is set at Rs. 1650 crore, with each connection receiving support at specified rates.
Under the extended PMUY, eligible beneficiaries will have the option of three types of LPG connections, each offered at different rates. These include the 14.2 kg single bottle connection at Rs. 2200 per connection, the 5 kg double bottle connection at Rs. 2200 per connection, and the 5 kg single bottle connection at Rs. 1300 per connection. Notably, the first refill and stove will be provided free of cost to Ujjwala beneficiaries, easing the transition to clean cooking.
One of the key features of PMUY is the targeted subsidy of Rs. 200 per 14.2 kg LPG cylinder for up to 12 refills per year, ensuring affordability for the beneficiaries. Without the continuation of PMUY, many eligible poor households might be deprived of this essential support, impacting their quality of life and overall well-being.
The significance of this initiative lies in its potential to address critical issues related to health and women’s empowerment. Access to clean cooking fuel will reduce health problems caused by the use of traditional cooking sources such as firewood, coal, and cow dung. It will also eliminate the drudgery associated with collecting wood for cooking and provide insurance against the unavailability of cooking fuel.
The decision to extend PMUY comes in response to the ongoing need for LPG connections in various households. New households are formed every year due to factors such as population growth, marriages, migration, and changes in family structures. Furthermore, there is an ongoing demand for 15 lakh PMUY connections, underscoring the importance of this extension.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has earned widespread acclaim as a highly successful social welfare scheme. It has played a pivotal role in increasing LPG penetration in the country, raising it from 62% in 2016 to nearly saturation levels today. This extension reaffirms the government’s commitment to improving the lives of women and ensuring a healthier, more sustainable future for all.
The extension of PMUY is a laudable step towards providing clean cooking fuel to women and improving their overall quality of life. It not only addresses health concerns but also empowers women by reducing their domestic workload and ensuring their access to a reliable source of energy.