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Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY): Brightening Lives by Bridging Barriers

ET Cases, 52 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Bala Bharathi Yelamanchi, Vandana Jayakumar and Syed Abdul Samad under the guidance of Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

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Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY): Brightening Lives by Bridging Barriers

What will be the ease of living for a poor woman, who uses a stove to cook food and spends her entire life in that smoke? According to me, her ease of living is possible if I free her from that smoke…”

- Narendra Damodardas Modi, Prime Minister of India

About 20 kilometers away from Ahmedabad, in Manipur village, Kaliben Thakor (Kaliben) sat back happily with a smile on her face as her children enjoyed their first home-cooked Dhokla, a popular Gujarati snack made with gram-flour. Kaliben could prepare Dhokla, a special dish, as now she was cooking on a gas stove using Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), a clean fuel instead of the mud chulha (clay stove) using traditional biomass fuels. The LPG connection which Kaliben had got through Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), had reduced the cooking time drastically. Now, Kaliben had time enough to do much more than just prepare the mundane meal comprising dal, curry and rotla (a type of bread) which alone took hours every day to prepare for the whole family.

Far away in Haripur village of the Khagaria district in Bihar, Ranju Devi (Ranju), a tailor, lives with her husband, a carpenter, and their two children. Ranju has more time for tailoring now and an opportunity to increase her income as she has done away with her old biomass chulha and is using an LPG gas stove instead, after taking an LPG connection through PMUY in June 2016. Cooking using LPG has freed her time for income generating activities.

In a village in western Uttar Pradesh, Lakshmi never even thought that she would have a bank account. However, an account has finally been opened in her name and she is unable to repress her smile as she looks at her name written on the passbook. While continuous household expenses do not allow her to save much, the little amount of money in her account assures her of more economic security than the currency notes which she tucks away in various corners of the house. Lakshmi's new account was opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY). While she may not be able to save much and deposit in her new account, it is credited with subsidy amount every time she buys an LPG cylinder. While on the one hand the PMUY has relieved Lakshmi from the hardships of cooking on a clay stove which emanated suffocating smoke, on the other, it has enabled her to have her own bank account.

Parvati, who lives in the outskirts of Delhi, is happy cooking using LPG as it saves time. With more time at her disposal, she is able to work as a domestic help in two more houses and earn more money.

In the Sonta village of Muzaffarnagar district, Surendari Devi is happy having taken an LPG connection through PMUY. She no longer has to stand for long hours in a kitchen full of smoke, particularly during summers, to cook food for the family. Moreover, having substituted wood with LPG, she needn't worry about the wood, which is stored outdoors, getting damp during rains. Kavita, another PMUY beneficiary from the Sonta village, is able to finish cooking in about an hour and utilizes her free time to teach her children...........................


Ever since it assumed power on May 26th 2014 after winning 336 Lok Sabha Seats out of 543 seats, the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) Government led by Modi, announced a slew of schemes that contributed to the Indian economy’s growth, financial inclusion, infrastructure development and empowerment of the poor.

Since 2014, several new schemes have been launched and some of the old schemes were restructured or extended seeking their progress. From uplifting of the backward states to address the issue of malnutrition among women and children, from hindering drug trafficking among the youth to setting up of solar plants in the rural areas, Modi Government had taken care of all the weak areas of the Indian economy through its schemes and programmes........................

Flagship Schemes of the Modi Government

For years, underprivileged Indians suffered from rain, drought, pestilence, indebtedness and social expenditure. The welfare schemes provide a rudimentary safety net to these economically vulnerable citizens. For instance, through the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Atal Pension Yojana, insurance and pension have become a reality for crores of poor Indians, especially the unorganized sector workers. Farmers falling into debt traps with poor harvest, found succor through comprehensive crop insurance..........................

Impact of Flagship Development Schemes

Since the launch of its first people’s welfare scheme in 2014, the Modi Government has sought to ‘include’ all Indians — rural, urban, differently-abled, young and old – into the ‘new’ Indian economy through a belief that economic progress and opportunity can be inclusive and can overpower divisive political-economic agendas to create a foundation of common interest.

Falling in line with these common interests, many more public welfare schemes were launched that have impacted various sections of people in the country. “As many as 22 crore17 families from 16,850 villages of 484 districts across the country were benefited by the welfare schemes of the Modi government,” said BJP President Amit Shah......................


In India, the usage of clean cooking gas had traditionally been confined to urban and semi-urban areas. Gradually, it reached the middle class population in tier-II cities and towns also. However, the poor in the rural and urban areas had limited access to clean cooking fuel – LPG. Majority of them were unable to either afford or access the clean fuel. There are about 24 crore households, of which about 10 crore do not have access to LPG. Consequently, women and children have to toil hard and endure physical stress to collect firewood used for cooking.

Particularly, rural women use conventional fuels such as firewood, coal, lignite, dung-cakes, etc., for cooking. However, burning of these fuels emanates smoke which results in high level of household pollution, adversely affecting the health of women and children who are mostly at home.....................

Other Related Schemes

The Government of India launched a few other schemes to give a boost to the LPG sector. Through its PAHAL (Pratyaksh Hanstantrit Labh) scheme, the government started transferring gas subsidy directly to beneficiaries’ accounts.

Over a year before the launch of PMUY, in March 2015, Modi appealed to the middle-class and affluent consumers through ‘GiveItUp’ campaign to give up their subsidies in favor of the underprivileged women (Exhibit IX). As a consequence, over 1.3 crore people have foregone their LPG subsidies.

Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre for Science and Environment, said, “We have what I call an Indian style of socialism where the rich benefit from the subsidies
allocated in the name of the poor.........................


In-keeping with its tag line of Swacch Indhan, Behtar Jeevan –Mahilaon ko mila samman (Clean Fuel: Better Life – Respect to Women), the planned outcomes of the scheme were three fold – health, environment and empowerment.


Globally, a large majority of people are dependent on solid biomass fuel as the primary source of energy for cooking. These fuels contribute to outdoor and indoor air pollution. Statistics indicate that the adverse health effects of indoor air pollution are much higher than those of outdoor air pollution. It is opined that the degradation of indoor air quality by harmful chemicals can be up to 10 times worse than outdoor air pollution. Enclosed areas tend to build potential pollutants more than open spaces......................

 Health Impact Assessment

In September 2018, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (RMP), a charitable organization, conducted an impact assessment survey in the Thane district of Maharashtra (covering both urban and rural areas), on about 800 PMUY beneficiaries. Most of the survey respondents were women from different castes and communities as the main focus of the scheme was women. The survey results highlighted the problems arising due to cooking on clay chulha using traditional biomass fuels and how  the onset of PMUY has helped overcome those problems (Exhibit XI). It is suggested that PMUY could also help families increase their savings as their health related expenses reduced..............................


Use of traditional biomass fuels creates environmental problems such as deforestation, air pollution, and climate change. By enabling reduction of indoor air pollution, PMUY was aimed at significantly contributing to a cleaner environment within the beneficiary households in particular and the overall environment in general (Exhibit XII)...................


Need for Women Welfare Schemes

India was recognized as an important emerging market economy by early 2000s. Since 2015, India has often been touted as the fastest growing economy of the world.54 However, as per 2016 McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) analysis, India’s Gender Parity Score or GPS (measures each country’s gender parity on a scale of 0.00 to 1.00) of 0.48 was amongst the lowest in the world (Exhibit XIII). Observers opine that the score reveals dismal state of gender parity and the dire need for measures to be taken to reduce the gap...................

Various Women Welfare Schemes Launched

Modi drew analogy of women power with the incarnation of Shakti – the Goddess of power. He strongly believed that greater opportunities for women can contribute greatly to the broader economic development. For women to be equal participants in work, they will have to be equal partners in the society. Indian Government has been attempting to bring about change in the society by launching many women welfare schemes. A few noteworthy women welfare programs introduced by the Government of India are highlighted in Exhibit XVII..................

Women Empowerment through PMUY

Traditionally, though women had been working hard for their families, they were not given due importance and their role often overlooked in the family and the society. However, PMUY was aimed to empower women by issuing the connection in the name of woman beneficiary to enhance her importance in the house. Women empowerment means giving woman a say in the affairs of the family in particular and the society at large.............................


Though PMUY witnessed huge success by issuing five crore LPG connections much before the target date, there are still some challenges to be addressed. Experts suggest that additional steps need to be taken to ensure that all the homes of rural and urban poor in India shift to LPG for cooking.

Affordability is one of the major concerns as households shift from conventional fuels to LPG. Though the subsidy amount is transferred immediately to the women beneficiaries’ accounts through DBT, they have to save and pay the full market price of the LPG for their subsequent refills. As PMUY segment of the society depends on marginal daily wage earnings as well as seasonal agricultural incomes, they feel the pinch of refill cost and hence the percentage of beneficiaries coming back for refills has been dwindling..................


Exhibit I: PMJDY – Beneficiaries as on 09/05/2018 (in crore)

Exhibit II: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan – Achievements

Exhibit III: DDUGJY – Household Electrification Status (as of May 2018)

Exhibit IV: Narendra Modi – Awards and Recognitions

Exhibit V: Brief Modalities of PMUY

Exhibit VI: Implementation Modalities of PMUY

Exhibit VII: PMUY – Achieving 1.5 crore Connections

Exhibit VIII: One Year of PMUY

Exhibit IX: GiveItUp Campaign

Exhibit X: Statistics on the Negative Health Impact of Indoor Air Pollution in India

Exhibit XI: Health Impact Assessment – Survey Findings

Exhibit XII: Environmental Impact of PMUY

Exhibit XIII: India’s Gender Parity Score Amongst the Lowest in the World

Exhibit XIV: Unpaid Care Work – Reasons for Being Outside the Labor Force

Exhibit XV: Female Employment Rates in South Asia are Low

Exhibit XVI: Female Labour Force Participation in India (%)

Exhibit XVII: Government Schemes for Women Upliftment

Exhibit XVIII: PMUY – Women Empowerment

Exhibit XIX: PMUY – A Women Empowerment Scheme

Exhibit XX: Time Taken for Cooking Before Getting LPG Connection

Exhibit XXI: Problems Faced While Using Conventional Fuels

Exhibit XXII: Use of LPG Saves Time

Exhibit XXIII: Is LPG Better than Conventional Fuels?

Exhibit XXIV: Did PMUY Help to Increase Your Self Respect?


Annexure I: Development Schemes Launched by Modi Government Since 2014

Annexure II: State-wise PMUY Connections Released

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Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

On May 1st 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, followed by its pan-India implementation. PMUY, a social welfare scheme, was launched with the objective of safeguarding the health of women and children by providing free/subsidized Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) connections to Below Poverty Line (BPL) households. The aim was to replace the conventional cooking fuels with LPG, a clean cooking fuel, so that women and children were not exposed to health hazards associated with the use of conventional fuels for cooking and their procurement. The scheme aimed to provide five crore LPG connections, issued in the name of women from BPL households, by 2019, which it achieved by August 2018. The target was later revised to provide eight crore LPG connections to be issued by 2020. There were three broad envisaged outcomes of the scheme - safeguarding health of women and children, protecting the environment and empowering women. Two years after its implementation and having achieved the initially set target, PMUY was being hailed as a successful scheme. However, it was argued if number of LPG connections issued could be the right parameter for gauging the success of PMUY. Moreover, a lot more needed to be done to achieve the larger outcomes of health, environment and women empowerment.

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand how a government’s welfare scheme – PMUY – can be made inclusive by sensitizing and involving diverse social strata (through ‘GiveItUp’ campaign)
  • To understand the objectives and implementation of PMUY scheme and debate on its efficacy
  • To discuss and debate on PMUY’s impeding challenges and the possible options to overcome the challenges

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used in the following courses:

  • MBA Program – Business Environment Course – To study the impact of government schemes in the functioning of organizations
  • Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programs in Commerce – Public Policy Course – To understand the dynamics of formulation and implementation of government policies

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Study
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