The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), Government of India launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) to address the need for clean cooking fuel for 50 million households, especially in rural and remote areas. Toxic fumes, including carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide produced from burning firewood, kerosene, and peat are a major threat to human health. Household emissions also contribute to the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, though their share is smaller as compared to other sources of CO2 emissions. The program offered a direct cash subsidy to encourage a permanent shift from polluting cooking fuels to LPG. The challenge for MoPNG was not only to reach the initial target of 50 million beneficiaries but also to ensure behavioral change, leading to the adoption of LPG as a permanent alternative to polluting cooking fuels.

MSC assessed the implementation in three phases from 2016 to 2018. The research team interviewed 574 PMUY beneficiaries across 124 villages and 44 districts in India. The assessments enabled MSC to:

  • Understand the behavioral triggers that enable the adoption of a cleaner energy source;
  • Identify the deterrents that prevent the regular refilling of LPG cylinders;
  • Identify the reasons for the continued coexistence of LPG and unclean fuels;
  • Determine the impact on gender equilibrium, as women are the primary beneficiaries of the program;
  • Recommend measures to MoPNG to ensure the continued usage of LPG cylinders and the permanent abolition of polluting cooking fuels.