Budget 2018: Free cooking gas scheme expanded to 8 crore poor families Read more at: //

NEW DELHI: More women can expect freedom from hazardous kitchen smoke as the government has proposed to expand its free cooking gas programme to 8 crore poor families from 5 crore earlier. 

The Ujjwala Yojana, conceived two years ago, has ensured record penetration of cleaner cooking gas among poor families, and is widely believed to have paid electoral dividends to the Bharatiya Janata Party in assembly polls, triggering demand from the oil ministry to expand its scale.

The Yojana, aimed to cover 5 crore families in three years, with 1.5 crore subscribers each in the first two years, exceeded annual target in 2016-17, the first year of its implementation, and is on course to repeat that feat again this year. 

So far, nearly 3.35 crore poor families have already received free cooking gas connection. Under the scheme, the government gives security deposit for a cylinder and regulator to the oil companies on behalf of the customer, but the subscriber must pay for the gas.