“Hon’ble Cabinet Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan envisions that we convene meetings of Ujjwala beneficiaries to establish a deeper connect with them. These meetings will serve as platforms to interface with the beneficiaries, harness their experiences and integrate them to create a knowledge base for triggering a sustainable and viable movement around Ujjwala. These meetings will reaffirm the need for safe and regular LPG usage.”
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on May 1st, 2016 in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh with the aim of providing clean cooking fuel to BPL women and reducing the drudgery and hazard of biomass cooking.. Under this scheme, 5 Cr LPG connections will be provided to BPL families with a support of Rs.1600 per connection in the next 3 years. Identification of the BPL families is done through Socio Economic Caste Census Data. 3 crore Ujjwala connections have already been given. Ujjwala is beginning to change the lives of these women. PMUY acknowledges that women are more adversely affected by lack of access to clean fuel than others. This was a first in any energy policy in India. In rural and low-income urban households, energy is ‘women's business’ women are responsible for providing energy, and use it for domestic chores and productive activities (Clancy, Ummar , Shakya & Kelkar, 2007). Despite the ‘time poverty’, ill health, and drudgery that this contributes to, energy policy has largely been gender blind. In fact, research exists to show that even women accord lower priority to better air quality compared to issues such as sanitation and water supply (Parikh et. al, 2003), primarily due to not being able to see the cumulative impact it has on their and their family’s health. The UN Women World Survey on the Role of Women in Development (2014) highlights clean energy as one of the four key domains for investment with a particularly strong potential to transform the lives of women and girls. Unfortunately women have traditionally not had the agency to make a decision regarding the shift in cooking technology. Additionally, conventional energy policies have tended to focus on energy supply, with little attention to the social issues relating to energy (FAO, 2006). PMUY puts women at the centre of India’s household energy policy. With the connections being in women’s name and the subsidy being transferred to their bank accounts, PMUY makes an effort to usher in a balance of power within the household unit.