The Indian government has been taking greater steps towards promoting the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas, as a safer and more economically viable alternative to traditional domestic fuels.
The new measure has been titled Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and it specifically targets impoverished households, and women users in particular. It was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and it will benefit from an initial funding valued at Rs 8,000 crore for an initial period of 3 months.
The funds will be invested in order to provide roughly 50 million subsidised LPG connections to individuals who would not have otherwise had the means to access this type of fuel. State governments and Union territories will be collaborating in order to identify the households that are eligible for financial help under this scheme.
The move has already been introduced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his announcement for the 2016-17 Budget. In his address, he further emphasised the fact that the aim of this initiative is to ease the access to quality fuels for Indian residents living below the poverty line (BPL). Mr. Jaitley also chose to focus on the negative impact traditional fuels have on women’s health, quoting studies that put the effect of an open fire in a closed space as being close to that of burning 400 cigarettes an hour.
Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan also referred to studies that have been carried out by professional industry bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). He explained that the rates of deaths caused by unsafe cooking practices have reached worrying levels, with 500,000 women from poor households dying from smoke inhalation-caused problems every year.
He went on to explain that implementing the LPG scheme will also have a knock-back effect on the environment.