In a relief to Ujjwala beneficiaries, the Union government has raised the subsidy amount under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) from ₹200 to ₹300 per liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder, Union minister Anurag Thakur says during a briefing on Cabinet decisions today.

The decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which decided to increase the subsidy amount. The current announcement comes about a month after the Centre announced ₹200 cut in LPG prices.

"On Rakshabandhan and Onam, the government had reduced the cooking gas prices by ₹200 per cylinder. At that time, the prices were reduced to ₹900 from ₹1,100 earlier. Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries continued to get the additional ₹200 subsidy and they got an LPG cylinder for ₹700. As per today's decision, such beneficiaries will now get ₹ 300 subsidy rather than ₹200, which will provide a huge relief to crores of women," says Thakur.

This means PMUY beneficiaries will now get the rate reduction benefit worth ₹500 per cylinder for each household.

Now a targeted subsidy of ₹300 per 14.2 kg LPG cylinder for up to 12 refills per year will be provided to PMUY consumers. The Ujjwala Yojana has played a significant role in bringing changes to the lives of women across the country, says the minister.

The government has taken several steps to make the lives of the poor easier, including providing 4 crore houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, of which 75% were registered in the name of women; 12 crore toilets; 13 crore clean water connections; free healthcare and food, says the minister.

The Union Cabinet last month approved the extension of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana for the release of 75 lakh LPG connections over three years from the financial year 2023-24 to 2025-26. The provisioning of 75 lakh additional Ujjwala connections will take the total number of PMUY beneficiaries to 10.35 crore.

As per the existing modalities of Ujjawala 2.0, the first refill and stove are provided free of cost to Ujjwala beneficiaries. Without continuation of PMUY, eligible poor households may not be able to get their due benefit under the scheme, says the Centre.

The government on August 29, 2023, had slashed the prices of LPG by ₹200 per cylinder for all domestic consumers from August 30. The financial implication of an additional subsidy of ₹200 per LPG cylinder was pegged at ₹7,680 crore for 2023-24.

In Delhi, for instance, the decision brought down the cost of a 14.2 Kg cylinder from the existing ₹1,103 per cylinder to ₹903 per cylinder. For Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) households, the effective price in Delhi will now be ₹603 per cylinder.

The government data shows per capita consumption of PMUY beneficiaries, which was 3.01 in 2018-19, has increased to 3.71 in 2022-23. PMUY beneficiaries took over 35 crore LPG refills a year (2022-23).

Notably, these announcements come ahead of key state assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh as well as the General Elections due next year.

As per the WHO data, around 2.4 billion people worldwide, around one-third of the global population, rely on open fires or inefficient stoves fuelled by kerosene, biomass (such as wood, animal dung, and crop waste), and coal for cooking. This leads to harmful household air pollution, contributing to an estimated 3.2 million deaths annually in 2020, with over 237,000 deaths being children under the age of 5.

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