By Our Correspondent
BHUBANESWAR:India’s leading research organisation in areas of social and development research, Research & Development Initiative along with leading Public Sector oil companies – Bharat Petroleum Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation & Hindustan Petroleum Corporation have come together to organise the nation’s first International Conference on cooking gas. The two day conference, to be held in Odisha’s capital city, will be inaugurated by Jharkhand Governor Hon. Smt. Droupadi Murmu on September 1.
Besides the Hon. Governor, the conference will be addressed by a cross section of dignitaries including Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Mr. Jagat Prakash Nadda, Union Minister of State (Ind. Charge), Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, UN Assistant Secretary General & Deputy Executive Director UN Women Ms. Lakshmi Puri, and Chairman, Global LPG Partnership, USA Mr. Kimball Chen.
Senior bureaucrats and heads of state-owned oil companies including Petroleum & Natural Gas Secretary K.D. Tripathy, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Chairman Ram Sewak Sharma, IOC Chairman B. Ashok, BPCL Chairman & Managing Director S. Varadarajan, and HPCL Chairman & Managing Director Mr. M. K. Surana will also speak on the critical subject.
The international conference will see over two dozen speakers and delegates from over a dozen developing countries such as Brazil, Guatemala, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria, Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia, Cameroon and Sri Lanka. Further, experts and stakeholders from USA and Europe will speak on global best practices and the likelihood of their adoption in the Indian context.
The seminar will deliberate on the need for an LPG enabled household, problems arising due to absence of LPG connection, the usage of traditional bio mass cooking fuels and their impact on both health and environment. The session will be chaired by Chairman, Global LPG Partnership, Kimball Chen.
The conference, which concludes on September 2, will also have a session on the hugely successful “Give it Up’ scheme that has given birth to a Silent Revolution and encouraged a large part of India’s affluent section to voluntary give up their LPG subsidy in favour of the nation’s poor. Chaired by TRAI Chairman Mr. Ram Sewak Sharma, the session will discuss the philosophy of creating a movement of instilling pride in “Giving it Up” for the country.
The meet will also discuss the success of the largest Direct Bank Transfer Scheme PAHAL that now allows direct transfer of subsidy on cooking gas to the beneficiary’s bank account and the crucial role of technology in curbing pilferage of funds.
An integral part of the conference will be discussion on Ujjwala and how it is becoming a vehicle of women empowerment & overall socio economic growth for the poor in India. This session will be chaired by Ms. Lakshmi Puri, UN Assistant Secretary General & Deputy Executive Director – UN Women.
The international participants like Dr. Walter Hart, Vice President, IHS, USA will discuss the Role of private sector in expanding the reach of LPG while Ms. Allison Abott, Communication Director, World LPG Association will discuss the role of Women in LPG Global Network – Global Practices & International Models.
The kitchen in a rural Indian household relied primarily on an open stove for cooking food, with constant exposure to smoke increasing the risk of several chronic health conditions, including respiratory infections, lung disease, cardiovascular disease, cataract and even cancer. According to a WHO report 5 lakh deaths annually is attributed to indoor air pollution. Smoke pollution also causes 40% lungs, 30% eyes and 20% of heart related ailments.
LPG, one of the most efficient cooking fuel was introduced as a domestic fuel in India in the 1960’s leading to large scale societal impact especially among the womenfolk. However from 1961 to 2014, the LPG coverage could reach only 130 million households in India. The incumbent government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi took up issue of providing clean cooking fuel to the people at the grass-root in earnest. High priority was accorded to identify the gap areas and overhaul the entire LPG distribution policy.The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas unveiled a bold and ambitious plan to increase LPG access to more than 75% of households by 2019 with special emphasis on increasing penetration in the rural areas.
DBT or Direct Bank Transfer of subsidies to beneficiaries known as PAHAL was launched on the 15th Nov 2014. In just two years of the activation of DBT the government has saved an estimated over $ 3.0 billion.GIVE IT UP campaign a novel experiment in social engineering also found wide resonance with the public. With our Prime Minister personal appeal, exhorting affluent households to give up their LPG subsidy more than 10 million LPG subsidies have been voluntarily given up and as a result 6.0 million BPL families have been given connections as a part of the GIVE IT UP campaign.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna has been rolled out with the objective of providing 50 million subsidized LPG connections to women of BPL households. As a result LPG connections in India has shown an impressive growth from 130 million to 170 million households. It’s a quantum jump by 27% in consumer base and a testimony to the sincerity of the present government to take LPG to every house hold.