(Pooja Pal; Intern Journalist): NEW DELHI: On Thursday, the Oil Ministry alleged that through the gas cylinder at no cost scheme, over 8 crore Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) beneficiaries have got 6.8 crores LPG cylinders at no cost during April-May(mid).

Amidst COVID-19, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package was introduced in March to curb the pain of poor, for the distribution of three 14.2-kg LPG cylinders free of cost to Ujjwala beneficiaries from April to June. Three cylinders for eight crore beneficiaries translated into giving away of 24 crore cooking gas bottles for free.

“During April 2020, oil marketing companies (OMCs) delivered 4.53 crore cylinders to PMUY beneficiaries under PMGKP. As on May 20, 2020, OMCs have delivered a total of 6.79 cylinders to PMUY beneficiaries under the package,” the ministry stated.

 The count cylinders overall, distributed betwixt April-June would not be more than 14 crores, a far cry from 24 crores provisioned for which the government had said Rs 13,000 crore would be spent.

 The statement said beneficiaries got the cost of LPG refill in their accounts, which they used to buy cooking gas from local distributors.

 “The beneficiaries were provided with funds in prior via Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in their accounts so that none could face any issue while procuring the facility,” it said.

 Supply chain personnel stated for not only being ensuring on-time supply of cylinders but also increasing knowledge amongst the beneficiaries regarding hygiene and assorted health guidelines.

 As part of curbing the poor’s pain due to COVID-19, the regime launched a pro-poor scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package’ (PMGKP) on March 26.

 Under this scheme, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is providing LPG cylinders at no cost to over 8 crore PMUY beneficiaries for 3 months since April 1, 2020.

 The government has distributed over 8 crore cooking gas connections at no cost to poor women belonging to the rural area since the launch of the Ujjwala scheme in 2016.

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