Policy & Govt

Govt plans to provide loans, arrange refills at doorsteps to boost Ujjwala scheme

The government may soon provide an option to consumers to refill cooking gas cylinders at their doorstep for an amount as small as Rs 50-100. The facility would be available after the proposed introduction of mobile liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vans across the country, The Business Standard has reported.

The government also plans to extend partial loans to customers for cylinder refills, said the report. The move is a part of a slew of measures to be introduced by oil marketing companies (OMCs) to boost the number of refills under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).

In a recent report, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said the annual average refill consumption of 19.3 million PMUY consumers, who had completed more than one year by the end of March 2018, was only 3.66 refills. A similar analysis of 31.8 million PMUY beneficiaries as of December 31, 2018, revealed that consumption declined to 3.21 refills per annum.

Considering the CAG report, the focus is now on increasing the number of small cylinders to encourage refills.

The Ujjwala scheme, under which free connections of cooking gas are provided to families that are below the poverty line (BPL), was instrumental in increasing LPG coverage to 97.4 percent households from 55 percent. Out of 275.9 million LPG consumers in India, 80.3 million consumers come under the Ujjwala scheme, according to the ministry of petroleum and natural gas.

However, the government had drawn flak over lower Ujjwala refills, as the average number of refills by normal customers comes to around 7. According to Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, the mission is not yet complete.

“Behavioural change, further strengthening the supply chain, and a shift towards cleaner energy are some of our key priorities.

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