The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has emerged as a major tool in the direction of making women empowered and also protecting them from chest-related ailments, the government said on Monday.
Responding to supplementation in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the scheme is also one of the factors among others for bringing over 27 per cent poor above the BPL index.
"Ujjwala scheme has set an example in the direction of making women empowered. It also impacts the environment as well as health and economic condition of the women," he said.
Asked whether the scheme has contributed to bringing over 27 crore poor above BPL index, the minister said it was one among other factors.
"Indian Chest Society and Indian Chest Research Foundation in its report have said due to Ujjawala scheme, chest congestion cases among women has reduced to 20 per cent," Pradhan said adding it was the most satisfactory part of the scheme.
The PMUY was launched in May 2016 with the objective of providing free LPG connections to 50 million poor women over a period of three years.
Pradhan said that the government has so far released more than 7.34 crore LPG connections across the country with 1.34 crore alone in Uttar Pradesh.
"Adoption and use of LPG on a sustained basis by a beneficiary of PMUY involves behavioural change and also depends on several factors which include food habits, cooking habits, price of LPG, availability of free firewood, cow dung, etc," he said.
The Union Minister underlined that the LPG is cheaper than even using wood and cow dung.
"This month, the price of 14 kg LPG cylinder is Rs 494.35 while using woods, cow dung and others cooking things costs between Rs 880-1000," he said.
In order to address the issue of easy access and availability of LPG at the doorsteps to the LPG consumers living especially in rural areas, Pradhan said the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have undertaken massive LPG network expansion drive in recent years.
"During the last five years, OMCs have commissioned more than nine thousand LPG distributorships to make LPG easily available and accessible to the customers," he said in a written reply.