Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday launch the Rs.8,000 crore scheme to provide 5 crore free cooking gas connections to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families from Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia.
During his daylong visit to Uttar Pradesh,Modi will also visit Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency, where he will distribute e-rickshaws and e-boats. The prime minister will also visit Gyan Pravah – Centre for Cultural Studies and Research and hold a meeting with top officials.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, to be run essentially using the money saved from 1.13 crore cooking gas users voluntarily giving up their subsidies, aims to provide cooking gas connections to 5 crore women beneficiaries from BPL families over the next three years, said informed sources.
These e-boats will not only reduce pollution, but will also bring down operational costs, thereby enabling higher incomes for those who earn their livelihoods through such boats on the river Ganga, an official said.
“He (Modi) will visit Gyan Pravah – Centre for Cultural Studies and Research at Varanasi and hold a meeting with prominent citizens in Varanasi,” an official source said.
The Prime Minister will also launch a scheme for environment-friendly E-Boats at the famous Assi Ghat.
These E-boats will not only reduce pollution, but will also bring down the operational costs, thereby enabling higher incomes for those who earn their livelihoods through such boats on river Ganga, the official source said.
“Since the launch, 1.13 crore people have given-up LPG subsidies and are buying cooking gas at market price,” Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said earlier.
Maharashtra tops the list with 16.44 lakh consumers giving up subsidies. Uttar Pradesh saw nearly 13 lakh users give up subsidies, followed by Delhi (7.26 lakh). Prime Minister’s home state of Gujarat was way down the list with just 4.2 lakh giving up subsidies. Pradhan’s home state of Odisha was even lower at 1.3 lakh.
“Five states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu account for roughly half of the people who have given up LPG subsidies,” Pradhan said.
Consumers are currently entitled to 12 cylinders of 14.2 kg each or 34 bottles of 5 kg each in a year at subsidised rates. A subsidised 14.2-kg cylinder is currently available at Rs 419.13 per bottle in Delhi while the 5-kg pack costs Rs 155.
Market-priced LPG is available at Rs 509.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder. Giving up subsidised LPG will help cut the government’s subsidy bill, which was at Rs 30,000 crore on the fuel last fiscal.
Nearly Rs 5,000 crore of subsidy saved through the campaign is being used to provide LPG connection to the poor. “We have released 60 lakh new connection to poor in the last one year,” he said.
The scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1,600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households. The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the State Governments and the Union Territories, he said. Pradhan said the country currently has 16.64 crore active LPG consumers.
Of the 21 million tonne LPG requirement, nearly 40 per cent is imported and this will go up as demand rises by double digit with new connections.