The UJJAWAL scheme is a flagship program of the Indian government aimed at providing free liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to poor households, especially women. The scheme was launched on May 1, 2016, with the objective of promoting a smoke-free and healthy environment in households, empowering women, and reducing the health hazards associated with traditional cooking fuels like firewood and cow dung.
In India, more than 75% of the rural population still relies on traditional fuels like firewood, cow dung, and crop residue for cooking. These fuels produce harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds, which have severe health implications, especially for women and children who are exposed to them for long hours every day. The World Health Organization estimates that indoor air pollution causes 4.3 million deaths worldwide every year, with the majority of these deaths occurring in developing countries like India.
Need for UJJAWAL scheme
The UJJAWAL scheme was launched to address the following issues:
Traditional fuels used for cooking in rural households produce harmful pollutants, which lead to respiratory diseases, eye infections, and even cancer. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to these health hazards, as they are exposed to these pollutants for long hours every day.
In India, women are responsible for cooking in most households, especially in rural areas. The UJJAWAL scheme aims to empower women by providing them with a clean and efficient cooking fuel, which reduces their workload and improves their health.
The use of traditional fuels like firewood and cow dung leads to deforestation, soil degradation, and air pollution. The UJJAWAL scheme aims to promote a clean and sustainable environment by providing clean cooking fuel to households.
Features of UJJAWAL scheme
The UJJAWAL scheme has the following features:
Free LPG Connection
Under the scheme, poor households are provided with a free LPG connection, which includes a gas stove, regulator, and a cylinder. The government provides a subsidy of Rs. 1600 for each connection, which covers the cost of the connection.
The scheme is targeted at poor households, especially those belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category, identified on the basis of Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data. The scheme covers all states and Union Territories of India.
EMI facility for buying stove and refill
The scheme also provides an EMI facility for beneficiaries who cannot afford to buy a gas stove or refill. The cost of the stove and refill can be paid in installments over a period of 12 months.
Cash incentive for early refill
To encourage regular use of LPG, the scheme provides a cash incentive of Rs. 5 for every refill to beneficiaries who purchase LPG cylinders using their own money. The cash incentive is transferred directly to their bank account.
Impact of UJJAWAL scheme
The UJJAWAL scheme has had a significant impact on the lives of rural households, especially women. Some of the key impacts of the scheme are:
The use of LPG has led to a significant reduction in indoor air pollution, which has led to a reduction in respiratory diseases, eye infections, and other health hazards associated with traditional cooking fuels.
The use of LPG has reduced the time required for cooking, which has enabled women to spend more time on productive activities like education and employment.
The UJJAWAL scheme has several environmental benefits. It promotes the use of clean fuel, such as LPG, which reduces the emission of harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases into the environment. This, in turn, helps in reducing indoor air pollution, which is a major health hazard for rural households. Additionally, the use of LPG reduces the dependence on traditional fuels, such as firewood and cow dung, which leads to deforestation, soil erosion, and loss of biodiversity. Overall, the UJJAWAL scheme promotes a clean and sustainable environment, which is essential for the long-term well-being of rural households.
The UJJAWAL scheme has led to a significant reduction in the cost of cooking fuel for poor households, as the government provides a subsidy of Rs. 1600 for each connection. This has enabled poor households to save money, which they can use for other productive activities.
Empowerment of Women
The UJJAWAL scheme has empowered women by reducing their workload and improving their health. Women no longer have to spend long hours collecting firewood or cow dung, which has enabled them to spend more time on education and employment.
Increased LPG Penetration
The UJJAWAL scheme has led to an increase in the penetration of LPG in rural areas. The scheme has provided a free LPG connection to more than 8 crore poor households since its launch, which has significantly increased the usage of LPG in rural areas.
Challenges faced by UJJAWAL scheme
Despite the success of the UJJAWAL scheme, it faces several challenges that need to be addressed. Some of the key challenges are:
Awareness and Communication
The UJJAWAL scheme targets poor households, especially those belonging to the BPL category. However, many poor households are not aware of the scheme or do not have the required documents to apply for a free LPG connection. The government needs to improve its communication and awareness campaigns to ensure that the scheme reaches its intended beneficiaries.
Affordability of Refill
While the UJJAWAL scheme provides a free LPG connection, the cost of refilling the cylinder is still a challenge for many poor households. The government needs to explore ways to make LPG refills more affordable for poor households.
Availability of LPG
The availability of LPG is still a challenge in some rural areas, especially in the hilly and remote regions of the country. The government needs to ensure that LPG is available in all areas covered under the scheme.
The UJJAWAL scheme has been a game-changer for rural households in India, especially for women. The scheme has empowered women, improved their health, and promoted a clean and sustainable environment. However, there is still a long way to go in ensuring that all poor households in India have access to clean cooking fuel. The government needs to address the challenges faced by the UJJAWAL scheme to ensure that it reaches its full potential in empowering rural households.
What is the UJJAWAL scheme?
The UJJAWAL scheme is a flagship program of the Indian government aimed at providing free liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to poor households, especially women.
Who is eligible for the UJJAWAL scheme?
The scheme is targeted at poor households, especially those belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category, identified on the basis of Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data.
What are the benefits of the UJJAWAL scheme?
The UJJAWAL scheme has several benefits, including health benefits, time-saving, environmental benefits, economic benefits, and empowerment of women.
How many households have been covered under the UJJAWAL scheme?
The UJJAWAL scheme has provided a free LPG connection to more than 8 crore poor households since its launch.
What are the challenges faced by the UJJAWAL scheme?
The UJJAWAL scheme faces several challenges, including awareness and communication, affordability of refill, and availability of LPG.