Ujjwala Yojana is a program initiated by the Indian government in May 2016 to offer free LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to families who are living below the poverty line. The scheme’s primary aim is to empower women by giving them access to a clean cooking fuel and reducing their dependence on traditional fuels like firewood, coal, and kerosene. The use of these traditional fuels for cooking can have serious health and environmental consequences, particularly for women and children.
The government offers a subsidy of Rs. 1,600 ($21) for each LPG connection to households living below the poverty line through Ujjwala Yojana. The program targets women from impoverished households, who are the primary users of LPG for cooking. The government’s goal is to provide 80 million free LPG connections to poor households by 2020.
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The smoke that rises from cooking food in the wood surrounds women with many types of diseases like respiratory and headache. Pradhan mantri Ujjwala yojana was started by the Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modiji on 1st may 2016 in ballia district of Uttar Pradesh to improve the lines of the women of BPL family.
The main objective of Ujjwala Yojana was to provide free LPG connections to 50 million impoverished people below the poverty line in India by 2019. By April 2018, over 35 million free connections had already been distributed. Due to the scheme’s success, the government increased the target from 50 million to 80 million by March 2020.
As per a report by WHO, more than 500,000 women in India die each year due to the use of fossil fuels for cooking, and millions of others suffer from health issues. Under Ujjwala Yojana, the government bears the cost of Rs. 1,600 for each connection, while the actual cost of a new connection is around Rs. 3,100 or Rs. 3,200. After receiving the free LPG connection, the beneficiary family has to spend Rs. 1,500 to purchase the gas stove and the first cylinder.
Benefits of Ujjwala Yojana
The Ujjwala Yojana has brought numerous benefits for women, particularly those living below the poverty line:
- Improved Health: One of the primary benefits of Ujjwala Yojana for women is improved health. Traditional cooking fuels such as firewood, coal, and kerosene emit toxic fumes, which can cause respiratory problems and other health issues. The use of LPG for cooking reduces indoor air pollution and protects women and their families from various health risks.
- Time and Effort Savings: Women in rural areas, who are usually responsible for collecting firewood and other traditional fuels, spend hours every day on this task. With the availability of LPG, women save considerable time and effort that they can use for other productive activities such as education, income-generating activities, and caring for their families.
- Education: Many girls in rural areas are unable to attend school because they need to help their mothers in household chores such as cooking. With LPG, women can cook faster and with greater ease, freeing up more time for their daughters to attend school.
- Gender Equality: The Ujjwala Yojana has played a crucial role in promoting gender equality by giving women control over the choice of cooking fuel. Traditionally, men have been responsible for making decisions related to household energy use. The scheme has given women a voice in decision-making, which is an important step towards gender equality.
- Economic Empowerment: Women who have access to LPG for cooking can save money on fuel and use it for other purposes such as investing in their businesses, education, or healthcare. This leads to greater economic empowerment and financial independence for women.
The scheme is targeted towards households that are below the poverty line and do not have access to clean cooking fuel. The eligibility criteria for the scheme include the following:
- The applicant should be a woman above the age of 18 years.
- The applicant should belong to a BPL (below poverty line) family.
- The applicant should not already have an LPG connection.
Impact of Ujjwala Yojana
The Ujjwala Yojana has had a significant impact on the lives of millions of women in India.
- Increased Access to Clean Energy: The Ujjwala Yojana has provided access to clean cooking fuel to millions of households living below the poverty line. As of March 2021, the scheme has provided over 8 crore (80 million) free LPG connections to women in rural areas. This has reduced their dependence on traditional fuels, improved their health, and reduced indoor air pollution.
- Health Benefits: The scheme has had a significant impact on the health of women and children. The use of traditional cooking fuels such as firewood and coal leads to indoor air pollution, which can cause respiratory problems, eye irritation, and other health issues. The use of LPG has reduced the exposure of women and children to indoor air pollution, leading to improved health outcomes.
- Economic Empowerment: The scheme has also led to economic empowerment of women. Women who have access to LPG for cooking can save money on fuel and use it for other purposes such as investing in their businesses, education, or healthcare. This leads to greater economic empowerment and financial independence for women.
- Social Impact: The scheme has also had a positive social impact. It has empowered women and given them greater decision-making power in households. This has contributed to greater gender equality and the overall development of women in rural areas.
- Environmental Impact: The scheme has had a positive impact on the environment by reducing the use of traditional cooking fuels, which leads to deforestation, soil degradation, and other environmental problems. The use of LPG for cooking is a cleaner and more sustainable option.
What is the Ujjwala Yojana?
The Ujjwala Yojana is a flagship scheme of the Indian government that aims to provide access to clean cooking fuel to poor households, particularly women living below the poverty line in rural areas.
What are the challenges faced by the scheme?
The scheme faces challenges such as the availability and affordability of LPG refills, lack of awareness among beneficiaries, and the need for sustained behavior change to adopt clean energy practices.
How many households have benefited from the scheme?
As of March 2021, the scheme has provided over 8 crore (80 million) free LPG connections to women in rural areas.
What are the benefits of the scheme for women?
The Ujjwala Yojana has brought numerous benefits for women, such as improved health, time and effort savings, education, gender equality, and economic empowerment.