The government has distributed 68 million free cooking gas cylinders under Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) since April 1, the oil ministry said.
Distribution of free cooking gas cylinder is part of the Rs 1.7 lakh crore package announced on March 26 to provide immediate relief to the poor from the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19. The welfare package also included three-month ration supply for free and direct cash transfer to under-privileged women, old age persons and disabled people.
Under this scheme, the ministry is providing free of cost liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders to over 80 million Prime Minister Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) beneficiaries for three months with effect from April 1, 2020, the ministry said in a statement.
PMUY was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 1, 2016 in Ballia (Uttar Pradesh) to provide free cooking gas connections to 50 million poor households. Later the target was raised to 80 million households, which was achieved six months in advance on September 7, 2019. While the number of free refills under PMGKY are be limited to three for beneficiaries using 14.2 kg cylinders up to June, beneficiaries using small refills of 5 kg will be entitled to eight free refills in the three months.
State-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) had delivered 45.3 million cylinders to PMUY beneficiaries last month, the statement said. “As on 20.5.2020, OMCs have delivered total 679.92 cylinders [67.9 million] to PMUY beneficiaries under the package” it added.
The beneficiaries were given funds in advance through direct benefit transfer (DBT) in their accounts, so that there was no difficulty in availing this facility. “The Corona Warriors- personnel working in the supply chain of LPG cylinder delivery- have not only been ensuring timely supply of cylinders, but also creating awareness amongst the beneficiaries about the hygiene and various health guidelines,” it added.