Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to provide a shield to women and children from smoke, the Ujjwala Scheme, has been much admired in the new WHO pollution report. “Countries are taking measures to tackle and reduce air pollution from particulate matter. For example, in just two years, India’s Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has provided some 37 million women living below the poverty line with free LPG connections to support them to switch to clean household energy use,” the report said.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) or the Ujjwala Scheme was launched by PM Modi on May 1, 2016 in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. The scheme aims to protect women and children from the smoke emitted from households using firewood for cooking purposes. Under the scheme, families below the poverty line are to be provided with LPG connections with a support of Rs. 1,600 per connection in the next three years.
The ambitious scheme also laid down a condition — that the LPG connections will be issued in the name of the women of the households. The scheme promises to install five crore connections by the end of 2019.
Identifying BPL families through the Socio Economic Caste Census Data (SECCD), around Rs. 8,000 crore have been allocated towards the implementation of the scheme. Besides, the government also influxed another Rs 4,800 crore into the scheme and increased the target of beneficiaries from five crore to eight crore in February.
Beneficiaries from the SC/ST households, beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin), Antyoday Anna Yojana, forest dwellers, most backward classes, Tea and Ex-Tea Garden Tribes, people residing in Islands and rivers were added to the SECCD, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan had said.
The Ujjwala Yojana has been launched in other UP and Bihar districts as well.