NEW DELHI: The cabinet on Wednesday pegged the cost of 75 lakh additional free LPG connections, to be given to poor households under the Ujjwala scheme by 2025-26, at Rs 1,650 crore. The additional connections were announced by the government on August 29 along with a Rs 200 cut in the price of LPG refills. The financial approval clears the way for the scheme’s expansion.
A government statement said without continuation of the scheme, eligible poor households may not have been able to get their due benefit. As on August 31, there’s demand for 15 lakh Ujjwala connections. Some eligible households still do not have LPG connection due to a myriad of reasons ranging from addition of households due to population growth, marriage, migration and remoteness of locations.
Information & broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur said the state-run fuel retailers will initially pay the cost of connections and the initial refill. The government will compensate them for the expenditure, based on the actual number of connections added.
The cost of each connection with one 14.2-kg cylinder or two 5-kg refills has been set at Rs 2,200. The price of a connection with one 5-kg refill has been set at Rs 1,300. A stove and the first refill will also be given without charging the households in accordance with the scheme’s provisions.
Ujjwala is one of PM Narendra Modi government’s flagship social welfare schemes. It was launched in May 2016 with the aim of saving womenfolk in poor households from the unhealthy impact of smoke from biomass ‘chulhas’ (ovens). The scheme helped raise LPG penetration in the country to near saturation from 62% in 2016. The average annual consumption currently stands at about four refills per Ujjwala household.
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