Lucknow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said it was unfortunate that people had to wait decades for basics like hospitals, roads and electricity, indirectly targeting the previous governments as he launched the second phase of the Ujjwala cooking gas scheme.
“As we will be celebrating 75th year of Independence this year and look at the progress in the past seven-and-a-half decades, we feel that some situation and conditions should have changed decades ago,” the prime minister said in his address.
“For many fundamental needs such as roads, power, hospitals, cooking gas, schools, water, home, people of the country had to wait for decades. This is unfortunate and women suffered the most due to this,” he said.
“How could the country become self-reliant without self-confidence,” he added.
The prime minister formally launched the second phase of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) — Ujjwala 2.0 — by handing over virtually LPG connections to some beneficiaries in Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath who was present in the Mahoba event handed over the documents to the women on behalf of the PM.
Interacting with the women beneficiaries, the prime minister said, “Before 2014, people had to take rounds of government offices for taking benefit of any scheme.”
“Our attempt is to ensure that benefits of schemes or resources reach all,” he added.
During the event, PM interacted with Bundi Devi of Dehradun, Uttrakhand, Ekta Chopdikar from North Goa, Asha from Amritsar, Punjab, Kiran Devi from Gorakhpur (UP) and Sunita Vaishnav from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
In his interaction, the PM sought to know from the women what benefit they got from the PMUY scheme and how it saved their time.
Bundi Devi said earlier she had to collect firewood from forests, but the situation has changed now and she saves much time.
When she told how she could take care of her 80-year-old father as she had more time in hand, the PM hailed her and said that she has “defied the belief that sons should be there for caring parents.”
Etka and Asha told the PM how they could spend more time with children due to the LPG connection they got under the scheme.
Kiran Devi told the PM how the LPG connection changed her life.
During Ujjwala 1.0 launched in 2016, a target was set to provide LPG connections to five crore women members of BPL households.
Subsequently, the scheme was expanded in April 2018 to include women beneficiaries from seven more categories such as SC and ST communities and forest dwellers.
Also, the target was revised to eight crore LPG connections. This was achieved in August 2019, seven months ahead of schedule, officials said.
In the Union Budget for 2021-22, provision for an additional one crore LPG connection under the scheme was announced.
These one crore additional connections under Ujjwala 2.0 aim to provide deposit-free LPG connections to those low-income families who could not be covered under the earlier phase of PMUY.
Along with a deposit-free LPG connection, Ujjwala 2.0 will provide first refill and hotplate free of cost to the beneficiaries. The enrolment procedure will require minimum paperwork. In Ujjwala 2.0, migrants will not be required to submit ration cards or address proof, and a self-declaration will suffice, they said.
Ujjwala 2.0 will help achieve the prime minister’s vision of universal access to LPG, it said.
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri was also present on the occasion.
In his address, Puri said that the use of wood and coal for cooking has adverse effects on health of women.