Ujjwala scheme | 90 lakh beneficiaries do not get refills

Over 1 crore got refills only once, shows RTI reply

May 12, 2022 10:20 pm | Updated May 13, 2022 09:09 am IST - New Delhi

Representational Image

Representational Image | Photo Credit: PTI

In the last financial year, 90 lakh beneficiaries of Narendra Modi government’s flagship welfare scheme Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana did not refill their cylinders. And over 1 crore beneficiaries refilled their cylinders only once. These revelations come in the backdrop of much feted “labharthi” or beneficiary class which reportedly voted in good numbers for the BJP in the recent elections especially in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

This was revealed in reply to an Right to Information (RTI) application filed by activist Chandrashekhar Gaur to the three oil marketing firms Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).

The scheme was originally launched on May 1, 2016 in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a target of releasing 8 crore connections by March 2020.

So far over 9 crore connections under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has been released. The PMUY 2.0 was launched in financial year 2021-22 making a provision for release of additional one crore connections.

According to the RTI replies, Indian Oil Corporation, for the connections released by them up till March 2021, 65 lakh customers have not refilled their connections during the last financial year. The figures for Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation are 9.1 lakh and 15.96 lakh.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation specified that the figure of 15.96 lakh is only for the connections released up to September 2019, which was the first round of the Ujjwala yojana.

The number of customers who filled the cylinders only once for Indian Oil Corporation were 52 lakh, for Hindustan Petroleum Corporation were 27.58 lakh and Bharat Petroleum Corporation were 28.56 lakh.

As per a reply filed by the government in Lok Sabha, in March this year, the LPG consumption under the Ujjwala Yojana remains 3.66 refills per connection annually.

COVID effect

These figures should also take into account the fact that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government provided up to three free of cost LPG refills to PMUY beneficiaries from April 1, 2020 and this was extended up to December 31 2020.

PMUY beneficiaries have availed 14.17 crore free refills under the Scheme, across the country, as per the same reply filed by Union Petroleum Ministry in Lok Sabha.

Congress leader Pradyut Bordoloi who is a member of standing committee on Petroleum speaking to The Hindu said that while the scheme was started with a good intent it has inherent flaws which the government has failed to address.

“The people are shocked to realise that they have pay the full amount even under the scheme for the subsequent cylinders. The subsidy is transferred into their accounts by the oil marketing firms. While the firms claim that they have disbursed the subsidy we don’t know whether it reaches the beneficiaries on time. The cylinders thus end up being used as show piece in their homes or sparingly used,” Mr. Bordoloi said.

He further added that he has requested the committee to do a detailed study on the implementation of the Ujjwala Yojana.

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