The Cabinet today approved a Rs 8,000-crore scheme to provide cooking gas (LPG) connections free of cost to women members of poor households. The Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana with an outlay of Rs 8,000 crore for three years, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told.
The scheme aims to provide on a war footing LPG connections to women members of BPL families. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget for 2016-17, had announced the plan, saying the poor do not have access to cooking gas. “Women of India have faced the curse of smoke during the process of cooking. According to experts, having an open fire in the kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour. The time has come to remedy this situation,” he said said in his Budget speech.
He had stated that the government has decided to embark on a massive mission to provide LPG connections in names of women members of poor households. “I have set aside a sum of Rs 2,000 crore in this year’s Budget to meet the initial cost of providing these LPG connections. This will benefit about 1 crore 50 lakh households below the poverty line in 2016-17,” he had said. “The Scheme will be continued for at least two more years to cover a total of 5 crore BPL households. This will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas in the country.” The move is aimed at empowering women and protecting their health, Pradhan stressed.