Recalibrating India’s Clean-Cooking Strategy: Moving Beyond LPG Subsidies : Daily News Analysis


LPG’s History and Challenges

The Indian government has made outstanding efforts to promote home LPG adoption during the last 15 years. The proportion of Indian families who use LPG as their primary cooking fuel has risen from 33% in 2011 to 71% by 2020.
However, recent worldwide events, like as the COVID-19 epidemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have made it difficult for Indian households to maintain LPG consumption.
The LPG subsidy was withdrawn for all consumers in 2020, and while three free cylinders were offered to all PMUY subscribers in FY21, only a percentage of the available free cylinders were consumed.
The reinstatement of a minimal subsidy of $200 per cylinder for PMUY consumers in FY23 helped improve refill rates, but the reliance on imported LPG has increased.


Prime Minister Ujjwala Scheme:

Initially initiated in 2016 with a goal of releasing 8 crore connections by March 2020, the PMUY sought to deliver LPG connections to 5 crore women from BPL households. The objective was eventually revised to 8 crore connections when it was broadened to include women beneficiaries from seven additional categories. Over 9 crore connections have been distributed thus far, and PMUY 2.0, which will be implemented in 2021, will provide an additional 1 crore deposit-free LPG connections for low-income families. In addition, the government has set a goal of providing piped gas to 21 lakh homes in 50 districts.
The PM Ujjwala Yojana targets several main objectives, including minimizing health risks connected with cooking with fossil fuels, empowering women by relieving them of the burden of collecting firewood, and fostering socioeconomic development.

Clean Cooking Solution Varieties

To overcome the obstacles provided by LPG subsidies and price volatility, India’s clean-cooking policy must embrace a diverse variety of clean-cooking technologies, moving beyond a reliance on LPG. Electric cooking, particularly induction cooktops, can reduce the need for flame-based cooking dramatically.
According to a research conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), even with a high rate of $8 per unit of electricity, e-cooking would be cheaper than LPG cooking at present costs.
While there are worries about rural India’s power distribution grid sustaining all-electric cooking, approximately 10% of urban households now utilize electrical appliances for cooking. Urban households can be early adopters, paving the path for rural communities to shift to electric cooking

Other available cooking fuels

Modern and clean cooking fuels emit very little pollution when burned. Biogas, LPG, electricity, ethanol, natural gas, and solar power (BLEENS) are a few examples.

A biodigester produces biogas. This is a closed, airtight container that ferments organic material such as kitchen trash, cow dung, and agricultural leftovers. This process generates biogas, which is a mixture of methane, carbon dioxide, and other trace gases. Making biogas from organic waste results in improved waste management and a cleaner environment. It also helps to mitigate climate change. Another advantage is the organic fertilizer that it creates. This enhances soil health and agricultural productivity, ultimately enhancing food security and nutrition.
Ethanol is a clean fuel derived from biomass.

Financing and Business Models to Aid Transition

To achieve a smooth transition to electric cooking, focused support is required to assist manufacturers in embracing efficiency and devising solutions appropriate to Indian homes. Adoption can be boosted further by introducing novel goods, such as gas and electric cooktops in one appliance.
The substitution of electric cooking for traditional “chulhas” can also help to minimize climate pollution. With the recent establishment of the carbon market, India is now able to monetize avoided emissions and give funding for poorer rural populations to adopt e-cooking.


India’s clean-cooking plan must go beyond LPG subsidies and investigate a wide range of clean-cooking technology. Electric cooking, with targeted legislation and new finance models, can provide a viable alternative to LPG and contribute to India’s clean cooking and environmental goals. India can establish a sustainable, resilient, and healthy future for its population by accepting a variety of options. It would be a significant achievement in terms of net zero and SDG-7.



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