The free LPG connection scheme is one structural reform of the Modi government that has been internationally acclaimed for ridding indoor household pollution and improving women’s health.
And now, the government plans to give one crore more free LPG connections to the needy over the next two years and make it easier to access cooking gas to achieve near 100 per cent penetration of the clean fuel in the country.
Oil Secretary Tarun Kapoor said plans are in the works to provide LPG connection with bare-minimum identity documents and without insisting on residence proof of the place of availing the cooking gas.
Also, consumers would soon get a choice of getting a refill cylinder from three dealers in his or her neighbourhood instead of being tied to just one distributor, who may not be able to provide LPG on demand due to availability or other reasons.
In an interview with PTI, Kapoor said a record-breaking 8 crore free LPG connections were provided to poor women households in just four years alongside the aggressive rollout of cooking gas, taking the number of LPG users in the country to about 29 crore.
The Union Budget earlier this month announced a plan to give out one crore more free cooking gas connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala (PMUY) scheme.
“Our plan is to complete these additional one crore connections in two years,” he said.
While no separate allocation for this has been made in the Budget for 2021-22, the general fuel subsidy allocation should be enough to cover the expense of about Rs 1,600 per connection, he said. “We have done a preliminary estimate of the people who are now left out. The number comes to 1 crore,” he said. “After the successful Ujjwala scheme, households without LPG are very less in India. We have around 29 crore households with LPG connections. With the one crore connections, we will be close to 100 per cent LPG penetration.”