Making it one of the most successful social sector projects of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has achieved its target of giving LPG connections to 15 million families in 2016-17 within seven months of its launch in May. The scheme was launched on May 1 this year at Billie in Uttar Pradesh with a target of providing connections to 50 million below poverty line families in three years time, with a government support of Rs 16 billion per connection.
Though the target for the current financial year was 15 million connections, Dharmendra Pradhan-led petroleum ministry was able to achieve the target with more than three months to spare. As per the PMUY website, the ministry crossed 1,51,07,561 families on Thursday. Interestingly, about 30 per cent of these connections are given to the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. The government has allocated Rs 80 billion for the scheme in which connections are issued in the name of the women in those families. According to industry sources, the minister himself is overseeing Modi’s pet project, along with a team of officials in the marketing division led by joint secretary Ashutosh Jindal and deputy secretary K M Mahesh, with oil marketing companies reporting the developments of PMUY to the team on a daily basis.
Poll-bound Uttar Pradesh has got the maximum number of connections with more than 4.5 million people benefitting from the scheme, followed by West Bengal with 1.95 million, Bihar with 1.9 million, Madhya Pradesh with 1.7 million and Rajasthan with 1.45 million connections. The ministry is likely to revise the target for this fiscal now. The government is also looking to invite the participation of private sector and other individuals to the scheme through PMUY Plus. The Pradhan team’s plan is that PMUY is set to get an image makeover, with the participation of private corporates and other individuals through a scheme called PMUY Plus.
As per the concept floated by Pradhan, private parties can pay for the subsidy of below poverty line families. According to the plan, the three oil marketing companies (OMCs) — Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation – will form a society to run this programme. While companies like Saudi Aramco had shown interest in being a part of the project, even individuals like Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Mahesh Sharma had offered his one month salary for PMUY. The scheme is followed by the success of “Give it Up” campaign launched by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas through which about 10.5 million people gave up their LPG subsidy.
Gathering impetus from PMUY scheme, the government has already added more than 20.5 million LPG customers this year. “In last two-and-a-half years, the government was successful in adding 60 million LPG connections, while in the 60 years before that, only 130 million connections were added,” said a source close to the development. According to the petroleum ministry data, India currently has 191.1 million LPG connections, while OMCs added 16 million consumers in 2014-15 and 20 million in 2015-16. Ryan Murray Authentic JerseyShare This