Two-thirds of rural households still use firewood for cooking, says NSSO

In urban areas, however, a similar proportion use LPG

Updated - March 29, 2016 12:30 pm IST

Published - August 01, 2015 01:52 am IST - NEW DELHI:

An Indian villager makes cow dung cakes, and arranges them to be sun dried on the banks of the River Ganges in Allahabad, India

An Indian villager makes cow dung cakes, and arranges them to be sun dried on the banks of the River Ganges in Allahabad, India

Over two-thirds of households in rural India still rely on firewood for cooking, new data from the National Sample Survey (NSS) Office show. In contrast, a similar proportion of households use liquefied petroleum gas for cooking in urban areas, but 14 per cent of urban households — including nearly half of the poorest 20 per cent — still rely on firewood.

Data from the 68th round of the NSS on fuel used for cooking and lighting were released on Wednesday. The data relate to a survey conducted by the NSSO on a nationally representative sample during 2011-12.

The use of firewood for cooking has declined only very slowly over the years in rural India, the numbers show, going from 78.2 per cent of all rural households in 1993-94 to 67.3 per cent in 2011-12. LPG use in rural households has grown relatively fast, from fewer than two per cent of rural households two decades ago to 15 per cent in 2011-12.

In North Indian States, cow-dung cake remained one of the major fuels for cooking for a third of rural households in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, a quarter in Haryana and a fifth in Bihar.

The use of cooking fuel is sharply dictated by class — the use of firewood drops steadily with rising incomes in rural and urban areas, and LPG use is highest among the richest classes. The data show 87 per cent of Scheduled Tribe households and 70 per cent of Scheduled Caste households in rural India use firewood, compared with 57 per cent of others.

T.N.’s record

Tamil Nadu had the highest use of LPG among rural households, with over a third using it for cooking, followed by Kerala and Punjab. The use of LPG was least in Chhattisgarh (1.5 per cent of households) followed by Jharkhand (2.9 per cent) and Odisha (3.9 per cent).

The majority of households in the country uses electricity as its primary source of lighting, but over a fourth of rural households still rely on kerosene. The percentage of households using kerosene was as high as 73.5 per cent in Bihar and 58.5 per cent in Uttar Pradesh. Over the past decade, the proportion of households using kerosene to light their houses has, however, halved in rural India.

The use of electricity was the highest in rural Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where nearly all rural households used electricity to light their homes. In contrast, just 40 per cent of rural Uttar Pradesh households had electricity.

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