Ujjwala Beneficiaries in Four States still use Earthen Stoves – Government Scheme Dose
A study from the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e) study on the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna (PMUY) makes the following observations:
- Most rural households with LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections still use chulhas with firewood or dung cakes which are the detriment of rural health.
- 85% of Ujjwala beneficiaries in rural Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan still use solid fuels for cooking, due to financial reasons as well as gender inequalities.
- In the four States surveyed, there was a substantial increase in LPG ownership due to the scheme, with 76% of households now owning an LPG connection.
- Overall only 27% of households exclusively used the gas stove and another 37% reported using both the chulha and the gas stove, while 36% used chulha exclusively.
- Whereas among those who received LPG connection through PMUY, almost 53% exclusively used the chulha, while 32% used both.
- The beneficiaries of PMUY are poorer, on average than households who got LPG on their own. Refilling the cylinder is a greater fraction of their monthly consumption, and they may be less likely to get a refill immediately after a cylinder becomes empty.
- Almost 70% of households do not spend anything on solid fuels, meaning that the relative cost of an LPG cylinder refill, even if subsidised, is far higher.
- Women are not typically economic decision-makers in the household, hindering a shift to LPG usage.
- 70% of respondents thought the gas stove was better for the health of the cook (typically a woman), more than 86% felt that cooking on the chulha was better for the health of those eating, reflecting ignorance of the fact that ambient air pollution is harmful even to those who are not cooking the food.
The survey covered a random sample of 1,550 households in 11 districts of the four States, which collectively have two-fifths of the country’s rural population.