Make LPG affordable for poor, say Warrior Moms in a letter to Union Finance Minister
Several prominent personalities have endorsed a letter demanding provisions in the Union budget 2023-24 to make Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) affordable to poor households across India. The letter was sent to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, early today by Warrior Moms, a collective of mothers from all over India fighting for children’s right to breathe clean air by creating awareness on sources of air pollution and climate change, educating and empowering citizens to take action and engaging with decision makers to enforce regulations. Significantly, a number of MPs and social activists have endorsed the letter.
“The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna (PMUY) introduced in 2016 has given over eight crore households access to subsidised LPG connections. However, the insufficiency of the subsidy combined with the difficulty of getting a timely refill hinders millions of households from switching to LPG…unable to afford cylinders now priced at over INR 1,000 on an average, underprivileged households continue to depend on unclean fuels like firewood and dung cakes, resulting in serious health implications (still-births, asthma, bronchitis, COPD, growth stagnation, decrease in life expectancy, high infant mortality rates)…it is imperative to provide all our underprivileged constituents with heavily subsidised cooking cylinders and refills (targeted subsidies, based on household income),” states the letter.
Members of Parliament such as Shashi Tharoor, Farooq Abdullah, Varun Gandhi, Maneka Gandhi and senior advocate Justice Anjana Prakash, social activist Aruna Roy have endorsed the letter
“It is disturbing to see the obstacles that women in urban-poor and rural households face due to the exorbitantly priced LPG refills across India. Continued usage of such fuels also has disastrous consequences on their health and wellbeing. We urge the Government of India to take this into account and raise the subsidy amount well beyond the current extension of Rs. 200, along with making the distribution of LPG smoother across the country,” said Warrior Moms in their official statement.
Over the last year, the Warrior Moms network has engaged in surveys, studies and awareness videos on the issue of air pollution and have submitted 5,000 postcards to Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Puri, from mothers across the country covering geographies such as Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Chennai and Delhi NCR among others. The postcards urged the government to address the issue of household air pollution by ensuring access and affordability to LPG for all poor households.
Household Air Pollution contributes to 30-50 per cent of the ambient air quality in India. Over 40 per cent households in India still don’t have access to clean cooking fuel despite close to universal coverage of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).