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Budget allots LPG for rural households, incentivises gas production

Cooking gas scheme to benefit about 1.5 cr BPL families this fiscal

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Kalpana Pathak  |  Mumbai 

Budget allots LPG for rural households, incentivises gas production

The government on Monday announced a new initiative to provide cooking gas to women members of BPL families with state support."I have set aside a sum of Rs 2,000 crore in Union 2016 to meet the initial cost of providing these LPG connections," finance minister Arun Jaitley said.

The scheme will free the women in rural areas from the curse of smoke while cooking. It will also reduce the time spent on cooking.

Christened Ujjwala, the scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households. The identification of eligible BPL families, as proposed in the for 2016-17, will be made in consultation with the State

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Terming the announcement as historic, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon'ble Minister of State (I/C) Petroleum and Natural Gas said the Scheme Ujjwala will not only have immense health benefits for the women and their children by providing a clean cooking fuel, but also provide significant ecological dividends.

According to WHO estimates, about 5 lakh women die in India due to unclean cooking fuels. Most of these premature deaths are due to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.

While providing the new connections to BPL households, priorities would be given to the uncovered States and pockets, particularly in the Eastern region of the country. This will be done in consonance with the vision of Hon'ble Prime Minister for development of Eastern India.

Jaitley said, "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."

This will benefit about 1 crore 50 lakh households below the poverty line in 2016-17. The scheme will go on for 2 years and will cover 5 crore BPL households.

"The scheme will also generate employment for the youth in rural areas as they join the supply chain," the finance minister said.

Jaitley added that as part of India's drive towards self-sufficiency, the Government is considering to incentivise gas production from deep-water, ultra deep-water and high pressure-high temperature areas, which are presently not exploited on account of higher cost and higher risks.

"A proposal is under consideration for new discoveries and areas which are yet to commence production, first, to provide calibrated marketing freedom; and second, to do so at a pre-determined ceiling price to be discovered on the principle of landed price of alternative fuels."

Last August Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Oil and Natural Gas had said that the ministry of petroleum and natural gas is working on a formula for premium on gas prices.

"Pricing of gas is a big challenge in India. When we declared the last pricing formula, there we have committed to give additional premium. Gas which is produced in difficult areas (ultra-deep water and deep water) will get the premium. We will be publishing the premium formula shortly." Premium would be given on new discoveries.

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First Published: Mon, February 29 2016. 16:13 IST
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