NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that the 'Ujjwala Yojna', a flagship welfare scheme of his government has become a symbol of progress which is driving remarkable social transformation. While speaking to Ujjwala beneficiaries across the country, through video conference, the PM also said that the scheme is influencing the holistic development of the country.
Addressing the beneficiaries of the scheme, he explained how the LPG connection had reduced time spent on cooking, and enhanced the quality of life for the entire family.
Stating his government's pro-Dalit credentials, he said that the scheme aimed at increasing LPG cylinder coverage among poor families has led to a social transformation with over 45 per cent of its four crore beneficiaries being Dalits and tribals. He also compared the benefits given to the community under the scheme to what they received under the Congress-led UPA government.
"Since people started to get benefits under the Ujjwala Yojna, a big social transformation is visible. I am happy to tell you that out of its four crore beneficiaries 45 per cent are Dalits and tribals. Till 2014, 13 crore families got LPG connection. This means, for over six decades the figure stood at 13 crore. It was mostly the rich people who got LPG connections. In the last 4 years, 10 crore new connections have been added and the poor benefited," he said.
He also claimed that while Dalits got 445 petrol pumps under 2010-14 during the UPA rule, more than 1200 of them got it during 2014-18 in his government's rule. The LPG reach is now 100 per cent in 70 per cent villages and more than 75 per cent in 81 per cent villages, he added.
"Ujjwala Yojana has strengthened the lives of the poor, marginalised, Dalits, tribal communities. This initiative is playing a central role in social empowerment," Modi said.
Recalling his past experiences, he said that when he was young, he would see rich and influential people had gas connections and they would tell the poor that it was unsafe to have a gas connection at home. "When we would ask them why do they have it in their homes, they were silent," he said.
The Prime Minister quoted a story written by Munshi Premchand in 1933, to highlight the importance of easing the lives of home-makers. He said Ujjwala has brought about benefits through better health outcomes, freedom from poisonous smoke and cleaner fuel. He said women now have a greater opportunity to earn extra income, as time spent on cooking has been reduced.
He also said that the government has been paying attention to ensure that there are no middlemen involved in this scheme, and the beneficiaries are chosen through a transparent process.