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PM Ujjwala Yojana reduced air pollution deaths by 13 per cent, prevented over 1.5 lakh deaths in 2019: Study

The study stated that PM Ujjwala Yojana was one of the most effective government schemes that helped improve air quality and reduce health risks from air pollution.

On Friday, an independent research report for the World Resources Institute (WRI) India revealed that the government’s flagship Ujjwala programme had reduced the indoor air pollution deaths by 13% in one single year. It stated that the scheme had prevented 1.5 lakhs of pollution related premature deaths in year 2019 alone. The study also stated that the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) had helped in avoiding at least 1.8 million tonnes of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) emissions that year.

According to a report by the Indian Express, the recent research report by Ajay Nagpure, Ritesh Patidar and Vandna Tyagi is being reviewed while the researchers have claimed that the numbers put up by them are estimates and that the actual beneficiaries could be higher in number. “The avoidance of premature deaths, for example, has been estimated only for indoor air pollution. Also, the benefits have been estimated for the year 2019 only. Similar benefits would have accrued in subsequent years as well, though we do not have full data as of now”, Nagpure was quoted.

He maintained that PM Ujjwala Yojana was one of the most effective government schemes that helped improve air quality and reduce health risks from air pollution. The research team had considered the households that had no access to the LPG and claimed that about 6.1 lakh deaths in 2019 could be attributed to the household air pollution.

The team further estimated that, if the households using secondary sources were taken into account, the indoor air pollution related deaths in 2019 had surged to 10.2 lakh. “However, in absence of the scheme, the number of deaths could have been as high as 11.7 lakhs”, the report mentioned. The survey by Nagpure also brought to notice that only 65% of the rural households were using LPG as the primary cooking fuel.

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was introduced by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MOPNG) in year 2016 to make clean cooking fuel such as LPG available to the rural and deprived households in the country. These rural and under priviledged households were otherwise using traditional cooking fuels such as firewood, coal, cow-dung cakes and others.

It is important to note that the government had achieved the target of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in September 2019 by giving access to over 28 crore households in India. The numbers had upsurged from 61.9% in year 2015 to 99.8% in year 2019. According to the Indian Oil Corporation, over new nine crore beneficiaries are also now availing the benefits of the government’s flagship Ujjwala 2.0 scheme.

Earlier, a research carried out by the IIT Kanpur, commissioned by the Health Ministry had releaved similar findings as that of the research carried out by Nagpure and team. The report had recorded 50% health improvement of members of households those who had adopted LPG. Also, the World Health Organisation in its report on air pollution had appreciated the Indian government’s efforts to curb air pollution through its flagship scheme of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.

According to the WHO estimates, 9 out of 10 people around the world breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. Around 3 billion people cook using polluting open fires or simple stoves fueled by kerosene, biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal and around 7 million people die every year from exposure to polluted fine particles which is referred as PM 2.5 which causes noncommunicable diseases including stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer. Ambient air pollution alone caused some 4.2 million deaths in 2016, while household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies caused an estimated 3.8 million deaths in the same period.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
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