New Delhi: The Union Budget for the current financial year is likely to again place the BJP government's flagship Ujjwala scheme on the priority list with the mandate of increasing access to cooking gas, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), to all the country's households before the year-end, sources said. The news came on a day when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held pre-budget consultations with stakeholders from industry, trade and services sectors.
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According to official sources, in the Budget speech, the Finance Minister is expected to first propose meeting the target of 80 million connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in the first 100 days of the government. The government has so far registered 71.9 million connections under Ujjwala scheme.
The government is now expected to follow up on the decision to give away at least 10-20 million new LPG connections which was taken at a Cabinet meeting late last year. The move is aimed at increasing access to LPG in the country to 100 percent from the current 93-94 percent. In order to achieve this, the Budegt may allocate an additional Rs 2,000-3,000 crore for the scheme.
After 100 percent coverage is achieved, the next challenge for the government would be to push the average LPG cylinder refill rate under Ujjwala which stands at a paltry 3 cylinders per annum in comparison to the national average of seven refills in a year.