Over 10 crore free cooking gas (LPG) cylinders were supplied to poor households under the government's Covid-19 relief package between April and June, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) said on Friday.
To overcome the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government had announced a relief package under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) comprising free ration, cooking gas, and cash to certain vulnerable sections.
One of the initiatives under PMGKY was to supply three free LPG refills to the 8 crore Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) beneficiaries during April-June. "An estimated over 10 crore free LPG refills were supplied under PMGKY by HPCL and other oil marketing companies.
"HPCL supplied more than 2.85 crore free LPG refills at doorsteps of its PMUY beneficiaries during April-June, 2020, helping the PMUY beneficiaries during this unprecedented crisis," the company said in a statement. As the Covid-19 pandemic is still continuing and normal work is taking time to resume to full capacity, the government has extended the period of availing the free LPG benefits until September.
"This particular initiative of door delivery of free LPG refills to poor households has helped them not only sustain their living but also has significantly reduced their chances of getting infected," it said. The government had on May 1, 2016 launched the PMUY initiative to provide environment-friendly clean cooking fuel to women, especially in rural areas.
"Since the launch of PMUY, LPG penetration in Indian households has increased from around 55 per cent to over 97 per cent," the statement said. The initial target of providing 5 crore LPG connections under PMUY was achieved much before the deadline of March 2019.
In view of the tremendous success of the scheme, a revised target of providing 8 crore LPG connections was set up with target date of March 31, 2020. "Oil marketing companies (OMCs) achieved the revised target of providing 8 crore LPG connections in September 2019, six months ahead of the target date," it added.