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“If Hamid can do it for his grandmother, why can’t a prime minister do it?” Modi said, narrating how the central character of the story, Hamid, buys a pair of tongs from an Idgah fair to save his grandmother from burns while cooking. In a video interaction with beneficiaries of the scheme through the Namo app, the PM referred to Premchand’s 1933 story to highlight the importance of easing lives of homemakers. He said Ujjwala had brought about benefits through better health outcomes, freedom from poisonous smoke and cleaner fuel. “Premchand’s Idgah touched me deeply… and gives strength to our resolve of providing gas connections to every family,” Modi said.
“Women now have a greater opportunity to earn extra income, as time spent on cooking has been reduced,” he added. Modi said the BJP government had provided LPG connections to 10 crore households in the span of four years, a task which previous governments could not achieve in decades. Approximately four crore families in rural areas have received LPG connections through the Ujjwala Yojana so far.
In all, nearly 10 crore new LPG connections have been issued in four years since 2014, as compared to 13 crore in nearly six decades from 1955 to 2014. “Over 69% villages in India now have 100% LPG penetration, while 81% villages have more than 75% LPG penetration,” the PM said about the scheme, seen as one of the most popular schemes of the NDA government.
Modi said previous governments were obsessed with helping the classes and not the masses due to which common people were bereft of LPG facility for decades. “The government has ensured there are no middlemen involved in this scheme, and the beneficiaries are chosen through a transparent process,” he added. Interacting with the PM, some beneficiaries said LPG connections had reduced time spent on cooking, and enhanced the quality of life of the family.
“I will always remember today’s interaction with beneficiaries of Ujjwala Yojana. Women from different parts of India shared their experiences on how this initiative has transformed their lives,” Modi tweeted later. Three Ujjwala beneficiaries were present at each of the over 600 centres across the country for the interaction. An estimated 10 lakh people viewed the interaction on various platforms, which included the Modi app, news channels and social media platforms.