New Delhi: In a major move to benefit Indian women from weaker sections of society, the union cabinet on Thursday approved a Rs.8,000-crore scheme to give free cooking gas connections to women members of households below poverty line (BPL).
The cabinet approved the Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana with an outlay of Rs.8,000 crore for three years. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has already this year announced Rs.2,000 crore for the scheme," Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters after the cabinet meeting here.
"According to experts, having an open fire in the kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour," he said, adding that the implementation of the scheme would lead to major job creation through the ancilliary industries associated with LPG supply.
"Women of India have faced the curse of smoke during the process of cooking. The time has come to remedy this situation," Jaitley said while presenting the General Budget for 2016-17.
"I have set aside a sum of Rs.2,000 crore in this year's Budget to meet the initial cost of providing these LPG connections. This will benefit about 1 crore 50 lakh households below poverty line in 2016-17," he had said.
The scheme aims to cover a total of five crore BPL households for ensuring universal coverage of cooking gas in the country.