The government will provide LPG connections to all poor households, union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced on Monday while presenting the 2016 - 17 annual budget in the Lok Sabha.
The government has set aside a sum of Rs. 2, 000 crore in this year's budget to meet the initial cost of providing these LPG connections.
"We have decided to embark upon a massive mission to provide LPG connection in the name of women members of poor households. This will benefit about 1 crore 50 lakh households below the poverty line in 2016 - 17. The scheme will be continued for at least two more years to cover a total of five crore BPL households, " said Jaitley.
"This will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas in the country. This measure will empower women and protect their health. It will reduce drudgery and the time spent on cooking. It will also provide employment for rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas, " he added.
According to the 2011 census, about 142 million rural Indian households use firewood and other solid fuels that include animal dung, charcoal, crop waste and coal as the primary source of household energy.
"This will significantly improve the health of women and those BPL families who suffer adversely from the ill - effects of Chulha cooking. Women of India have faced the curse of smoke during the process of cooking, " said Jaitley.
According to experts, having an open fire in the kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour. The time has come to remedy this situation, he added.