Budget 2021: Ujjwala scheme to be extended to 1Cr more beneficiaries: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Presenting the Union Budget for 2021-22, FM Nirmala Sitharaman said fuel supplies were kept running without interruption during COVID-19 lockdown.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said the free cooking gas LPG scheme Ujjwala will be extended to one crore more beneficiaries. So far, the scheme has aided over eight crore households in India. She further added that the city gas distribution network of providing CNG to automobiles and piped cooking gas to households will be expanded to 100 more districts.

Presenting the Union Budget for 2021-22, the finance minister said fuel supplies were kept running without interruption during COVID-19 lockdown.

The FM also announced a transport system operator (TSO) for regulating common carrier capacity in gas pipelines to boost a gas-based economy. A gas pipeline project will be taken up in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, she added.

"An independent Gas Transport System Operator will be set up for facilitation and coordination of booking of common carrier capacity in all-natural gas pipelines on a non-discriminatory open access basis," she said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents Union Budget 2021-2022

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched in 2016 by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households. Initially, it aimed to reach 50 million women.

Since 2014, the number of LPG connections in India had doubled to more than 26 crores, covering about 90 percent of the population. The target was to provide LPG connection — a clean, convenient, and energy-efficient source for cooking — to all households by 2020-21.

The scheme was recognised by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2019 as a "major achievement" in improving the environment and health of women.

"Providing access to LPG across India by 2020 is a major achievement. It is not an energy issue, it is an economic issue, it is a social issue," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol had said at a conference.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

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Edited by Suman Singh