New Delhi: About 50 percent of urban slum households in six Indian states – including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – use liquefied petroleum as (LPG) exclusively, according to a survey.
The other four states surveyed are Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, CEEW’s Cooking Energy Access Survey 2020 released on Wednesday said.
The survey was conducted in urban slums across the six states. It covered 656 households across 83 notified and non-notified urban slums in 58 districts.
”Only half of the urban slum households in six Indian states use LPG exclusively. This is in spite of 86 percent of urban slum households in these states having an LPG connection,” according to the survey conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
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The six states account for nearly a quarter of India’s urban slum population.
Further, 16 percent of the households are still using traditional fuels such as firewood, dung cakes, agriculture residue, charcoal, and kerosene as their primary fuel and over a third are stacking LPG with these polluting fuels. This increases exposure to indoor air pollution for such households.
”As part of the next phase of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), the government must target poor households without an LPG connection in urban slums. Policymakers must also nudge oil marketing companies and distributors to improve home delivery of LPG refills in slum areas to increase exclusive use of LPG.
”Also, as the LPG refill prices rise, the government must target vulnerable households – beyond PMUY beneficiaries – with differential subsidy support for using LPG in a sustained manner,” CEEW CEO Arunabha Ghosh said.
A significant share of the urban slum population is struggling to afford using LPG for all their cooking, especially due to the rising fuel prices and the economic impact of the pandemic, Shaily Jha, Research Analyst at CEEW and lead author of the study, said.
”Given that the number of Ujjwala beneficiaries living in urban slums is low, the majority of slum households remain ineligible for relief support in the form of free cylinders under the PM-Garib Kalyan Yojana.
”We suggest that the major government programs, such as the National Urban Livelihoods Mission and social service allocations for housing, should use existing targeting approaches to include access to clean cooking energy within their ambit of services for the poor,” Jha said.
The study also revealed that only about 45 percent of households use LPG as their primary fuel in winter. Further, three-fourths of households using polluting fuels cook inside the main house and two-thirds do not have a chimney for ventilation.
This indicates high exposure to household air pollution, primarily for women and children. Long-term exposure to emissions from biomass burning also makes the population more vulnerable to the severe risks of COVID-19 infection, the findings said.
It further highlighted that 37 percent of LPG-using slum households do not receive doorstep delivery of cylinders.
The study has recommended leveraging platforms like LPG Panchayats to increase awareness regarding the process of subsidy calculation and disbursement for households.
The intra-household decision-making regarding refill purchase remains dominated by male members, increased awareness about actual expense on the refills may lead to improving women’s bargaining power within the household.
The Council on Energy, Environment, and Water is one of Asia’s leading not-for-profit policy research institutions.