LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) is a widely used cooking fuel in India, with over 28 crore households using it as their primary cooking fuel. However, the cost of LPG can be a significant burden for many households, especially those in the low-income category. To alleviate this burden, the government of India introduced the LPG subsidy scheme, also known as the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
Under the PMUY scheme, the government provides a subsidy on the purchase of LPG cylinders to eligible households. The subsidy amount is credited directly to the bank account of the beneficiary, thus eliminating any intermediaries and ensuring that the benefit reaches the intended recipient.
The PMUY scheme was launched in May 2016 with the aim of providing LPG connections to 5 crore women from BPL (Below Poverty Line) families over three years. The scheme was later expanded to cover all households that did not have an LPG connection. The scheme has been hugely successful, with over 8 crore LPG connections provided to households as of September 2021.
The subsidy amount varies depending on the prevailing market price of LPG. The government fixes the subsidy amount, and it is reviewed periodically. As of February 2023, the subsidy amount for a 14.2 kg LPG cylinder in Delhi is Rs. 77.14. The actual price of the cylinder without subsidy is Rs. 1049.50. Therefore, the customer pays only Rs. 972.36 after deducting the subsidy amount.
To avail of the subsidy, households need to link their Aadhaar card to their LPG connection and bank account. This ensures that only eligible beneficiaries receive the subsidy amount. The process of linking Aadhaar and bank account is straightforward and can be done online or offline at the LPG distributor’s office.
While the LPG subsidy scheme has been successful in providing LPG connections to millions of households, there are still many households that do not have access to LPG. The government has recognized this issue and has launched initiatives such as the PMUY 2.0 to provide LPG connections to more households.
However, the subsidy scheme has also faced some challenges. One of the main challenges is the issue of ghost beneficiaries, where ineligible households receive the subsidy amount. This can lead to a waste of resources and prevent eligible households from receiving the benefit. To address this issue, the government has taken measures such as seeding Aadhaar and bank accounts, and conducting regular audits.
The LPG subsidy scheme has been a game-changer for millions of households, especially those in the low-income category. It has not only made LPG affordable but has also improved the health and well-being of households by reducing the use of traditional cooking fuels such as firewood and cow dung cakes. The scheme has its challenges, but the government’s commitment to addressing them ensures that more households can benefit from the scheme in the future.