New Delhi: Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday asserted that households having access to clean cooking fuel has increased from 55 per cent four years ago to 87 per cent now due to central government’s determined efforts to provide universal access to clean cooking fuel to the poorest of the poor.
Pradhan made these remarks while addressing the India Energy Forum in New Delhi on Monday. He highlighted the benefits of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) and termed it as a tool that empowered poor women.
He said, “Through the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana our government is aiming to provide universal access to clean cooking fuel to the poorest of the poor in the country. Innovative delivery models, technology and policy of direct subsidy, have ensured we surpassed the target of 50 million households in three years, well ahead of scheduled time. We have also increased the target to reach 80 million households. Putting things in perspective households having access to clean cooking fuel increased from 55 per cent four years ago to 87 per cent today. PMUY not only enabled access to clean fuels, but it also empowered poor women by addressing their issues of ‘time poverty’ and encouraged them to invest in human capital.”
Pradhan also asserted that it would be necessary to harness all sources of energy to ensure energy security and sustainability. He said, “Energy today is a global industry and oil is truly a global commodity. Hence our engagements with global energy community have to be continuous to address the challenges of transition in energy for a secured energy future. India will have to harness all sources of available energy like solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, oil, gas, bio-fuels, etc to accomplish Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ensuring energy access, energy security, energy affordability and energy sustainability.”
Outlining the potential of International Solar Alliance to possibly become the key block of the supplier of energy in the world, Pradhan said, “This has been a year of highs and lows for the energy sector. On the positive side, a lot of progress has been made on the reforms and implementation of initiatives. India has taken a lead in the International Solar Alliance (ISA) with 60 solar rich countries. The Prime Minister has mentioned that ISA can potentially replace the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as the key block of the supplier of energy in the world. With falling prices of Solar, we can easily achieve his idea of ‘One World, One Sun, One Grid’.”
He also talked about several other initiatives like policy reforms to boost upstream activities in India, expansion of city gas distribution (CGD) networks to reach half the country’s population and leapfrogging from BS-IV to BS-VI grade fuel while claiming that these initiatives are helping the government’s efforts to provide energy justice to everyone.
Pradhan also claimed that the government’s focus towards harnessing the untapped potential of Biofuels have confirmed India’s inclination towards becoming a clean fuel economy and reiterates country’s stance to mitigate climate change related issues and providing sustainable energy for the Indian people.