The study, reported in the form of a case, narrates the story of a major attempt at social transformation through a simple mechanism of providing cooking gas (LPG) to the marginalized in society. Targeting about 100 million households in India who still use dung-cakes, firewood, and coal as the primary fuel for cooking, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was conceived with the objective of replacing these traditional fuels with LPG which is a clean fuel. The initial target of providing 50 million Below Poverty Line (BPL) families with LPG at the time of the launch of the scheme on May 1, 2016 was increased to 80 million by 2019-20, and as of January, 2018 over 30 million families had already been covered by the scheme.
The key findings are as follows. The scale and speed of implementation were achieved through excellent coordination between the government system, the government-owned Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and the banking system. The government system represented by officials from the central government, the state governments, and the village heads (Sarpanchs) helped in identifying BPL beneficiaries and in mobilizing people to canvass the idea of switching over to LPG from traditional fuels for cooking. The OMCs (the three companies involved in the implementation were IOCL, BPCL and HPCL) designed and created the robust logistics system needed for bottling and distribution of cooking gas. They also designed and created the IT platform required for easy transaction and record keeping for the entire logistics system. The banks provided the infrastructure needed for flow of funds, including flow and accounting of subsidies from the government.
PMUY is clearly one of the largest social intervention schemes executed anywhere in the world in challenging environment. Its successful implementation provides insights into management of such interventions. The lessons that can be drawn from the implementation would be of use for similar large-scale social interventions.