1. LPG as a clean cooking fuel has been a new addition in the lives of poor women under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). As women are seen as the immediate beneficiaries of cleaner fuel, expenditure on LPG is also about women creating a space for themselves within the household budget.
2. Getting an LPG connection is a onetime decision; getting a refill is a decision that is to be made afresh every month or so taking into account several factors including any emergency expenditure that the family needs to prioritise. The first year of using LPG is crucial in a household’s journey from unclean to clean cooking fuel.
3. As per the data available, about 70% of the PMUY customers have availed interest free loan facility provided by OMCs towards financing LPG stove and/or first LPG cost. Under the scheme, OMCs are recovering the subsidy amount provided on subsequent refills from beneficiaries who have taken loan and adjusting the same towards the repayment of the loan. Hence 70% Ujjwala beneficiaries purchase refills at market price until their loan is paid back. Paying the market price for the initial few refills is an additional hurdle that was coming in the way of their shift towards cleaner fuel, resulting in periodic slips back to biomass.
4. OMCs are committed to ensure sustainable use of LPG by PMUY beneficiaries so that all the associated benefits of reduced drudgery & time poverty, better health, improved air quality and overall women empowerment, fully manifest in these women’s lives. Keeping in line with the spirit of PMUY scheme and the country’s goal to achieve universal LPG penetration by 2022, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have announced today to defer recovery of loan amount from Ujjwala beneficiaries for next 6 refills starting from April 01, 2018.
5. This deferment of loan recovery, upto to 06 refills would be implemented as per the following guidelines
a. The scheme shall be applicable for all the existing PMUY LPG connections who have taken loan for Stove and/ or first LPG cost from OMCs.
b. All PMUY customers who have outstanding loan as on March 31, 2018 will have a deferred recovery of the outstanding amount up to 6 LPG refills.
c. All new consumers who will be enrolled after April 01, 2018 will also have a deferred recovery of the outstanding loan amount up to 6 LPG refills.
6. This loan deferment scheme, along with other OMC initiatives such as PM LPG Panchayats (peer learning platforms to support behavior change in Ujjwala beneficiaries) will definitely boost the LPG refill consumption by PMUY customers and provide a window for the benefits of cleaner fuel to become visible. This shall also provide a big push to the country’s progress towards Sustainable Development Goals.