India has become world’s second largest LPG importer, a position that was previously occupied by Japan. China remains as the world’s top importer. According to Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell, LPG imports in the country has increased 23% during the financial year 2016-2017 to about 11 million tonnes.
The main reason behind the increase in the consumption of LPG in India is due to the two government schemes coupled with free gas connections. From May 2016, the government is providing free cooking gas connections to women from extremely poor households, to reduce the use of polluting fuels such as wood and dried cow dung. This has increased India’s active LPG users to about 200 million, which is 60% more than Japan’s entire population. According to the World Health Organization, polluting fuels used for cooking purposes results in 1.3 million premature deaths in India every year.
India has set an ambitious target of increasing LPG usage to cover 80% of the households by March 2019. As per the present estimates of the oil ministry, demand for fuel will touch 35 million tonnes by 2031-32 in India.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)
PMUY was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2016 with the tagline of Swachh Indhan, Behtar Jeevan. The scheme’s motive is to provide free of cost LPG (cooking gas) connections to women from BPL Households.
The scheme seeks to empower women and protect their health by shifting them from traditional cooking based on unclean cooking fuels or on fossil fuels to clean cooking gas. It is being implemented by Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. The scheme will be implemented over three years’ time period until the financial year 2018-19.