Why is Modi not able to keep his promise of taking cooking gas to poor in India

If you are planning to give up your cooking gas subsidy in the belief that it would help light a poor woman’s clean stove quickly, as has been promised by the prime minister, think again: While the middle class has been prompt in giving up their subsidy, the government has been slow in keeping its promise of offering fresh connections to poor households.

Around 4.7 million consumers have given up their subsidy, about 70 percent more than the 2.72 million poor households who actually received fresh subscription between March 28 when the GiveItUp campaign was launched, and December 1, executives at the state oil firms said. And as on December 1, there were no poor households waiting for fresh subscription, according to the state firms’ data. At this pace, state oil firms will find it increasingly hard to achieve the government-set target of releasing 1 crore new connections to poor families this fiscal year.

About two-thirds of Indians lack access to clean fuel today. It is this enormity of the challenge and a limited government endeavor to promote clean fuel that has prompted the International Energy Agency (IEA) to recently say that every third Indian will be using firewood and dung cakes for cooking even after a quarter century.

The smoke in kitchen puts at risk the health of women and children mainly in rural areas long neglected by governments in expanding access to clean fuel. It is this risk that Prime Minister Narendra Modi cites often in the media campaign urging well off citizens to give up. More