More than 3.51 crore LPG connections have been made in BPL households under this scheme; 1.54 cr beneficiaries are Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The BJP is hopeful that the five crore BPL families who would have benefitted from the Centre’s highly successful Ujjwala Yojana Scheme by March 2019, will help it storm back to power in 2019.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), which was started in May 2016, intends to provide LPG connections to at least five crore Below-Poverty-Line families by next year. The beneficiaries of this scheme have been identified from the Socio-Economic Caste Census, 2011 (SECC).
“The response of the scheme has been very positive from all across the country. We have been getting reports from our workers and MPs that the scheme is generating a lot of goodwill among the BPL families who for the first time have got access to LPG connection. You can just imagine that when these five crore families (which translates to more than 10 crore voters) go out to vote, what will be in their mind. This scheme has impacted the life of the poor posityively, especially those who are living in rural areas. This is one scheme we are very proud of and we are hopeful that it will help us very electorally,” a senior BJP leader said.
As of now, more than 3.51 crore LPG connections have been made in BPL households under this scheme.
Out of this, as per the data compiled by the government, 44% of the total beneficiaries (approximately 1.54 crore) are from the Scheduled Caste (SC) and the Scheduled Tribe (ST) community.
In Uttar Pradesh, where the SCs make up for 21% of the total population of the state, 40 % of the total LPG connections under the scheme have been issued to SC BPL families.
In Haryana, where the SC population is 19 %, 48% of the total connections have the SCs.
Union petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is leading the initiative, had said on 8 February that as per his information 80% of the beneficiaries who have availed of the benefit of the scheme had applied for a refill.
In order to make sure that it just does not remain a scheme that is launched in files, the ministry has been organising village level enrolment camps, so that the scheme can be availed without going to towns.
AADHAR has been made mandatory to make sure that no siphoning off, or duplication, or people availing multiple connections is done.
“The entire cost (Rs 1600, including the cost of cylinder, pressure regulator, pipe, record book, installation charges) is being borne by the government. We have even provided that the beneficiary can use EMI option to pay for the stove and the first refill. We know that many beneficiaries will not come back for refill for one reason or the other but this is a habit (using LPG gas) that needs to be inculcated and will come gradually and slowly. Do not think that we are just doing this for electoral gains, we are also looking at the health benefits that it brings,” the functionary added.
As per studies, more than 1 lakh Indians die prematurely because of the smoke that they inhale while using traditional methods of cooking.