Q. Why is this in News?
A. Recently, the Prime Minister launched the second phase of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) or Ujjwala 2.0 Scheme.
- He mentioned plans to promote “gobar dhan” – tapping cow dung for energy on the occasion of World Bio Fuel Day (10th August).
- Ujjwala is part of the ambitious agenda for behavioural change that will help India transit to a $5 trillion economy by 2024.
Q. What is this scheme about?
- Launched in May 2016 to provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.
- It is aimed to provide maximum benefit to the migrants who live in other states and find it difficult to submit address proof.
- Now they will only have to give “Self-Declaration” to avail the benefit.
Q. What are the objectives of the scheme?
- Empowering women and protecting their health.
- Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
- Preventing young children from a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning fossil fuel.
Q. What are its key Features?
- The scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households.
- Along with a deposit-free LPG connection, Ujjwala 2.0 will provide the first refill and a hotplate free of cost to the beneficiaries.
Q. What is its target?
- Under Ujjwala 1.0, the target was to provide LPG connections to 50 million women from the below poverty line (BPL) households, by March 2020. However, in August 2018, women from seven other categories were brought under the purview of the scheme:
- SC/ST, those under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), beneficiaries of the Antyoday Anna Yojana (AAY), Forest Dwellers, most backward classes, tea gardens and Islands.
- Under Ujjwala 2.0, an additional 10 million LPG connections will be provided to the beneficiaries.
- Government has also fixed a target of providing piped gas to 21 lakh homes in 50 districts.
Q. What are its achievements?
- In the first phase of the PMUY, 8 crore poor families, including from the Dalit and tribal communities, were given free cooking gas connections.
- The LPG infrastructure has expanded manifold in the country. In the last six years, more than 11,000 new LPG distribution centres have opened across the country.
Q. What are the Challenges?
- Low Consumption of Refills:
- Encouraging the sustained usage of LPG remains a big challenge, and low consumption of refills hindered recovery of outstanding loans disbursed under the scheme.
- The annual average refill consumption on 31th December 2018 was only 3.21.
- System Anomalies:
- There are deficiencies such as the issuance of connections to unintended beneficiaries, and problems with the software of the state-run oil marketing companies for identifying intended beneficiaries and inadequacies in the deduplication process.