12% slum households in India still without LPG connection. Five ways to improve access

By The print

The high domestic LPG cylinder price is an additional burden on the urban slum households, a demographic already facing challenges with regard to clean cooking energy access.

While the government’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana or PMUY has played an instrumental role in increasing LPG reach, the poor living in India’s urban slums need targeted support for the fuel’s adoption and use. India has more than 13.7 million urban slum households. Slum-dwellers suffer from the twin burden of high urban ambient particulate matter pollution and household air pollution.

A recent survey by CEEW-ISEP spanning across 58 non-metropolitan districts of six Indian states – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh – suggests a significant improvement in LPG use across slum households over the past decade. Almost 86 per cent now have LPG connections and as many as 55 per cent use LPG as exclusive cooking fuel.

However, what this also means is that nearly half of the urban slum population across the six states, representing a quarter of India’s slum population, still relies on polluting fuels for cooking, either entirely or partially, through fuel stacking with LPG.

Based on our research, we suggest five strategies to reduce household air pollution, and transition the households using polluting fuels to the exclusive use of LPG: include poor households in urban slums, target vulnerable slum households, extend home delivery of LPG cylinders to all urban slum households, integrate LPG delivery with social assistance programmes focused on urban poverty, and focus on cooking and non-cooking uses of biomass in urban slums.

Extend Ujjwala, target slums
The first step is to insure that the extension of the Ujjwala scheme in Budget 2021 to an additional 10 million beneficiaries involves a targeted effort to include poor households in urban slums.

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