NEW DELHI : The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved an extension till end September for availing free cooking gas cylinders under the marque Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
The earlier announced Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) package included providing women of 83 million below poverty line (BPL) families with free cooking gas cylinders for three months under the Ujjwala scheme. Given that the approved scheme was to end in June, the petroleum ministry proposed for time extension by three months for the Ujjwala beneficiaries to avail the free cylinders.
“This will benefit those PMUY beneficiaries who have been credited with the advance for buying the cylinder, but have not been able to purchase the refill. Thus, the beneficiaries who already have the advance transferred to their account can now take the free refill delivery till 30th September,” petroleum ministry said in a statement of Wednesday.
The time limit for availing the benefit for Ujjwala beneficiaries has now been extended by three months with effect from 1 July, said information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar, while briefing reporters after the cabinet meeting.
“The package also included relief for poor families who had availed of an LPG connection under PMUY. Under the PMGKY-Ujjwala, it was decided to provide free of cost refills for PMUY consumers for a period of 3 months w.e.f. 01.04.2020. Under the Scheme, ₹9709.86 crore was transferred directly into the bank accounts of Ujjwala beneficiaries during April- June 2020 and 11.97 crore cylinders were delivered to the PMUY beneficiaries,” the statement added.
This comes in the backdrop of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) that was rolled out to provide relief to the poor and vulnerable amid the covid-19 crisis being extended till November.
Ujjwala is one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi administration’s flagship pro-poor schemes and is considered the equivalent of Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s rural jobs scheme. The scheme has also found traction internationally. A case in point being energy rich Ghana where state run Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) will help Ghana’s National Petroleum Authority (NPA) expand the country’s liquified petroleum gas (LPG) network.
The Ujjwala programme, launched on 1 May, 2016, aims to safeguard the health of women and children and lays the basis for a fundamental material transformation at the bottom of the pyramid by covering 715 districts.
The government has been trying to reach out to financially weaker sections, migrant workers and farmers, even as the lockdown hurt small businesses, major job creators and the backbone of the Indian economy.