NEW DELHI: The Cabinet on Wednesday pegged the cost of 75 lakh additional free
, to be given to poor households under the
by 2025-26, at Rs 1,650 crore.
connections were announced by the government on August 29 along with a Rs 200 cut in
refill price. The approval of the financial implication clears the way for rollout.
A government statement said without continuation of the scheme, eligible poor households may not have been able to get their due benefit. There is demand for 15 lakh Ujjwala connections as on August 31.
Some eligible households still do not have LPG connection due to a myriad of reasons ranging from addition of households due to population growth, marriage, migration and remoteness of locations, according to the statement.
Information & broadcasting minister
said the state-run fuel retailers will initially pay the cost of connections. The government will compensate them for the expenditure, based on the actual number of connections added.
The cost of each connection with one 14.2-kg cylinder or two 5-kg refills has been set at Rs 2,200. The price of a connection with one 5-kg refill has been set at Rs 1,300. A stove and the first refill will also be given without charging the households in accordance with the scheme’s provisions.
Ujjwala is one of the Narendra Modi government’s flagship social welfare schemes. It was launched in May 2016 with the aim of saving womenfolk in poor households from the unhealthy impact of smoke from biomass ‘chulhas’ (ovens).
The scheme has helped raise LPG penetration in the country to near saturation from 62% in 2016. The average annual consumption currently stands at about four per Ujjwala household.
The government restored LPG subsidy for Ujjwala consumers at Rs 200 per cylinder as part of Covid relief, which will also apply to the additional connections. LPG subsidy for general domestic consumers was scrapped in June 2020 following the pandemic-induced oil/gas price crash.