10 crore LPG connections given in Four Years against 13 crore since independence

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said 10 crore LPG connections, including four crore free to poor women, were given in last four years compared to 13 crore in six decades since independence, as his government stepped up efforts to shield women and children from kitchen smoke.

Interacting through video-conference with some of the women beneficiaries who received free cooking gas connection under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Modi recounted his own childhood when his mother struggled with smoke emitting from cooking on firewood or cow dung, to say his government will increase coverage of clean fuel to 100 per cent households in the near future.

Launched in May 2016, the scheme aims to provide in next three years as many as five crore free cooking gas connections to women from extremely poor households, aimed at reducing the use of polluting fuels such as wood and dried cow dung that, according to the World Health Organization, cause 1.3 million premature deaths in India every year. The target was raised to eight crore this year by adding two additional years.

“Till 2014, only 13 crore LPG connections were given. These were mostly to rich and affluent class. In the past four years, we have given 10 crore new LPG connections, mostly to poor,” he said. “Ujjwala Yojana has strengthened the lives of the poor, marginalised, dalits, tribal communities. This initiative is playing a central role in social empowerment.”

Modi said the government is targeting one lakh LPG Panchayats (peer learning platforms to support behaviour change in Ujjwala beneficiaries) this year to boost the LPG refill consumption and provide a window for the benefits of cleaner fuel to become visible.

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