90 lakh Ujjwala beneficiaries are not getting refills

90 lakh beneficiaries of the Narendra Modi government’s flagship welfare scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, did not refill their cylinders in the previous fiscal year. Over 1 crore people only had to refill their cylinders once. These revelations come against the backdrop of the much-heralded “labharthi” or beneficiary class, which is said to have voted en masse for the BJP in recent elections, particularly in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

This was revealed in response to activist Chandrashekhar Gaur’s Right to Information (RTI) request to the three oil marketing companies Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).

Ujjwala scheme announced in 2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi first announced the scheme on May 1, 2016 in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, with the goal of releasing 8 crore connections by March 2020. Over 9 crore connections have been released under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana so far. In the fiscal year 2021-22, the PMUY 2.0 was launched, with plans to release an additional one crore connections.

According to Indian Oil Corporation’s RTI responses, 65 lakh customers have not refilled their connections during the previous financial year for connections released up until March 2021. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation have respective figures of 9.1 lakh and 15.96 lakh.

Image Source: The Hindu

The figure of 15.96 lakh is only for connections released up to September 2019, which was the first round of the Ujjwala yojana, according to Bharat Petroleum Corporation. Customers who filled their cylinders only once for Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, and Bharat Petroleum Corporation totaled 52 lakh, 27.58 lakh, and 28.56 lakh, respectively.

According to a government reply filed in the Lok Sabha in March this year, the annual LPG consumption under the Ujjwala Yojana remains at 3.66 refills per connection.

Effect of COVID

These figures should also account for the fact that, beginning April 1, 2020, the government provided up to three free LPG refills to PMUY beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was extended until December 31, 2020.

According to the same reply filed in Lok Sabha by the Union Petroleum Ministry, PMUY beneficiaries have received 14.17 crore free refills across the country. While the scheme was started with good intentions, Congress leader Pradyut Bordoloi, a member of the standing committee on Petroleum, told The Hindu that it has inherent flaws that the government has failed to address.

“The people are shocked to learn that even under the scheme, they must pay the full amount for subsequent cylinders.” The oil marketing companies deposit the subsidy into their accounts. While the companies claim to have disbursed the subsidy, we have no way of knowing whether it reaches the recipients on time. As a result, the cylinders are either displayed in their homes or used sparingly,” Mr. Bordoloi explained.

He also stated that he has asked the committee to conduct a thorough investigation into the Ujjwala Yojana’s implementation.

Share This:

Leave a Comment