This refers to “PM’s plan for free gas connections is failing its objectives” (January 27). We would like to clarify the following:
The CRISIL report, mentioned in the report, is based on an October-December 2015 survey, before the implementation of the Prime Minister Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), launched in May 2016. The scheme has since addressed various concerns of affordability, accessibility, and availability.
Under PMUY, women from BPL families are provided free LPG connections, mitigating the initial hurdle of spending Rs 1600, on security deposit, installation costs, and price of Suraksha hose. The oil marketing companies (OMCs) also offer a loan facility for a hotplate and the first refill, which is subsequently adjusted against their refill subsidy.
OMCs are ensuring last mile availability by strengthening distribution network. Since 2014, 5300 new distributorships have been commissioned with 6400 more in the pipeline, for easy availability, reducing waiting time and queues.
That LPG connections have increased by over 16 per cent, while the LPG consumption has increased only by 9 per cent is because there is no direct co-relation between the two. Weeding out of fake connections and shifting to other cooking modes like PNG, microwaves and induction plates in the urban sector have also contributed to this schism.
Historically, rural households consume four LPG cylinders annually. The current consumption by PMUY beneficiaries is around 4.07 cylinders per annum, which is in line with historical consumption. This is definitely set to increase as beneficiaries realise of the advantages of LPG. Efforts are being made to make available the more affordable 5 kg cylinders in rural markets and educating them through LPG Panchayats regarding the health, environmental and convenience benefits of using LPG.
Subodh Dakwale, ED (CC & Branding), HO, IndianOil
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