Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders consumption has improved amongst Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) customers despite the recent price rise in LPG prices, said Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) on Wednesday.
According to IOCL a surge of 23.2 per cent in LPG consumption was noted in the initial quarter of this fiscal, which was attributed to the three free LPG refills given to the PMUY beneficiaries.
IOCL noted that improvement in the overall LPG consumption has continued for the three-month period December 2020 to February 2021 and has registered a growth of 7.3 per cent for all domestic LPG customers (PMUY non-PMUY).
LPG consumption amongst PMUY customers registered a growth of 19.5 per cent, from 8,45,310 MT in the comparable period in the last fiscal to 10,10,054 MT in the current fiscal for the said three-month period.
Compared year-on-year, the overall domestic LPG sales have registered a handsome growth of 10.3 per cent during the current fiscal (till Feb’21), IOCL said.
Driven by the vigorous thrust of the central government on making accessible the clean energy to all Indians, LPG has emerged as the preferred kitchen partner for almost every Indian. This is evident from the fact that the LPG penetration in India has improved from 55 per cent in 2014 to more than 99 per cent as of 10 March 2021.
Taking the vision of the Prime Minister forward to make energy accessible, available and affordable for even the poorest of the poor, the oil and gas industry, under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has provided 8 crore LPG connections to (PMUY) beneficiaries at pan-India level with government expenditure of ₹12800 crores.
Moreover, to alleviate the problems faced by the marginalized during the Covid 19 Pandemic, PMUY beneficiaries were provided with three free LPG refills. A total of ₹9670 crore was transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries directly.
Last month in an interview with ANI, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan refuted reports that claimed that the central government has stopped providing subsidies on LPG cylinders.
Tagging the reports as baseless, Pradhan said, “We are still providing subsidy to the consumers of remote and interior areas of the country. 8 crore beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana got 14 crore LPG cylinders free of cost during the lockdown period.” As per him, free cylinders were provided to help the people and reduce their impact on the downtrodden.
In addendum, the Union Minister also denied reports of the International Energy Agency (IEA) which says, “Access to clean cooking goes beyond technical availability: It also extends to issues of adequacy, reliability, convenience, safety and affordability.” While the report acknowledged the government’s efforts to enhance the availability of LPG through various schemes to reach most Indian dwellings, it highlighted that nearly half of the Indian dwellings in 2019 continued to rely on traditional biomass for cooking, especially in rural areas.
Refuting the report, Pradhan said that around 70 per cent of beneficiaries of PMUY are refilling their LPG cylinders while the remaining 30 per cent of those who were not getting their cylinders refilled thinking that they are getting the woods free, and are therefore using them instead. Touching upon the repercussions of using wood instead of LPG cylinders, the Union Minister said that ‘it is leading to health issues, polluting the environment, and leading to domestic pollution.