The government extended Ujjwala Yojana of providing free cooking gas (LPG) connections to all poor households, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
The scheme, launched in 2016, originally targeted giving LPG connections to mostly rural women members of below the poverty line (BPL) households. The list was later expanded to include all SC/ST households and forest dwellers among others.
The scheme is now being extended to all poor households.
Under the scheme, the government provides a subsidy of Rs 1,600 to state-owned fuel retailers for every free LPG gas connection that they give to poor households. This subsidy is intended to cover the security fee for the cylinder and the fitting charges.
The beneficiary has to buy her own cooking stove. To reduce the burden, the scheme allows beneficiaries to pay for the stove and the first refill in monthly instalments. However, the cost of all subsequent refills has to be borne by the beneficiary household.
The PMUY was launched on May 1, 2016, to provide 5 crores free LPG connections in three years. The target was expanded to 8 crores in five years.
So far, 5.86 crore LPG connections have been released, he said adding that 48 per cent of the beneficiaries are SC/STs.
LPG coverage presently extends to close to 90 per cent of the population and the expansion will help take the coverage to all households, he said.