PMUY Shows Declining Patterns in Refill Consumption
Another group of women in Madhya Pradesh, these one attending a skills training programme in vegetable farming. In a rural, conservative corner of the country, most of the group had never met foreigners before and were shy and giggling much of the time. What was interesting about this training is that as this is the first time it is being adapted and rolled out to this new region, enthusiasm was mixed and first and getting the first batch to show the first day of the training was challenging for the staff. But then this second day, 10 extra women suddenly showed up also, eager to see what their friends and neighbours were excited about. That is one of the best indicators that the programme is meeting these families’ needs as anything.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheme, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) focused on providing gas connections to women from poor households. The scheme has supposedly hit a roadblock.

When the usage pattern of LPG cylinders by beneficiaries was analysed, it was found that there is a steady decline over the months. The annual average refill consumption dropped from 3.66 refills till March 2018 to 3.21 refills till December 2018. Further, it decreased to 3.08 refills in the 12 months to September 2019. 

In FY19, more than 12 states are below the national average consumption of refill cylinders of 6.25 cylinders of 14.2 kg. The data considers the yearly refill consumption for a period of 12 months, i.e. from October 2018 to September 2019, covering the beneficiaries who enrolled during the first two years of the launch.

Also Read: Women in Rural Areas to Audit Centre’s Flagship Welfare Schemes

States such as Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Telangana, and Rajasthan are showing a decline in the refill consumption patterns. In contrast, the government has proclaimed that the target of distributing eight-crore deposit-free LPG connections has been realised seven months before the planned timeframe on 7 September 2019.

The Prime Minister launched the scheme on 1 May 2016 to distribute 50 million LPG connections to women of below poverty line (BPL) families. 

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has recognised gross misuse of PMUY and has thrown light on several anomalies. The audit report consisted of various deficiencies such as issuing LPG connections by the distributors to unintended beneficiaries, deficiencies in LPG software while identifying intended beneficiaries, and deficiencies in the de-duplication process.

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