Why in News?  Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on approved a scheme to give free cooking gas connections to poor women.  
  • Poor in India have limited access to Clean fuel (LPG).
  • Use of fossil fuels and conventional fuel like cow dung has a serious health implication for women and Children.  According to WHO estimates about 5 lakh deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
  • Chullahs produce PM 2.5, particles under 2.5 microns that lodge in the lungs and cause cancer and TB.
  • Biomass smoke makes people blind. One NFHS study of women showed that blindness was 8,967 per lakh population in biomass homes compared with 6,152/lakh in cleaner-fuel homes. Indoor air pollution is responsible for significant number of acute respiratory diseases in young children.

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  • This is the first ever welfare scheme by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • 5 Crore LPG connections will be provided to BPL families with a support of Rs 1600 each household in next three years.
  • About 1.50 Crore BPL families will be benefited under the scheme in the year 2016-17.
  • Connections will be given in the name of Women beneficiaries.
  • Identification of BPL families will be made in consultation with State Governments and Union territories. EMI Facility will be provided for meeting the cost of stove and refill cost.  


  • Providing LPG connections to BPL households will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas. It will reduce the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuels
  • It will also be one more step towards empowerment of women and protect their health.
  • The scheme is also expected to provide employment to rural youth in supply chain.
  • It will also reduce rural female workload of collecting firewood, and reduce deforestation.
  • Each BPL household would have to spend up to Rs.5,000 each year on LPG even at current subsidised prices  in addition to a one-time cost of Rs.1,800 for the connection. This cost may be unaffordable to many.
  • Lack of distribution systems especially in rural areas.
  • There are many inclusion and exclusion errors in BPL lists as observed by various civil society members.
  • Also BPL is a narrow definition of deprivation and many non-BPL households may also not be able to afford LPG connections.
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