LPG connections not only success metric:CAG on Ujjwala

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News:According to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India,the beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana scheme are not opting for enough refills of cooking gas cylinders.

Facts:

About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna:

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
  • The scheme aims to replace unclean cooking fuels used in the most underprivileged households with clean and more efficient LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas).
  • Under the scheme,an adult woman member of a below poverty line family identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) is given a deposit-free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.
  • Initially the target was installation of 5 crore LPG connections by 2019.But the target was revised to 8 crore which has been achieved  ahead of the schedule of 2019-20.

What did the CAG report said?

  • The report has said that mere distribution of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections under the Ujjwala Yojana cannot be the sole criterion to judge the scheme’s success.
  • It has found that there has been a decline in the annual average LPG cylinder refills by Ujjwala beneficiaries.
  • According to the report,the 1.93 crore consumers who were provided connections in the scheme’s first year had an average refilling rate of 3.66 per year.
  • Further,around 56 lakh who completed one year or more by 2018 never came back for a second refilling.Around 1.05 crore beneficiaries consumed just one to three refills.
  • Hence,the report has concluded that the objective of distributing deposit-free LPG connections had been broadly achieved.But the scheme could not be termed successful without ensuring the transition to clean fuel through sustained usage of LPG.

Recommendations of the report:

  • Third-Party Audit may be carried out to assess the implementation of scheme
  • Aadhaar numbers of all adult family members of existing as well as new beneficiaries should be entered in the system to make deduplication effective
  • Safety campaigns need to be organised in order to ensure safe usage of LPG by Ujjwala beneficiaries
  • The option of subsidising the cost of mandatory inspection may be explored to avoid risk hazards in the absence of regular inspections
  • PMUY beneficiaries in nil or low consumption category need to be encouraged for sustained usage
  • Cases of high consumption of refills should be regularly reviewed to curb diversion.

Additional information:

About Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG):

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is a constitutional body established under Article 148 of the Constitution of India.
  • The CAG is appointed by the President following a recommendation by the Prime Minister.
  • CAG audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments,including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government.
  • CAG is also the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department,the affairs of which are managed by officers of Indian Audit and Accounts Service.