Berkeley professor for prolonged implementation of Centre's 'remarkable' Ujjwala Yojana
New Delhi , August 12 : Dubbing the Centre's Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana as a 'remarkable initiative,' Kirk R Smith, Professor of Global Environment Health at the School Of Public Health, University Of California, Berkeley said the prolonged implementation of the same will help India in achieving the 2030 mission to replace all forms of cooking fuel with modern substitutes."Ujjwal Yojana is a remarkable initiative which should continue to be implemented. It has largely benefitted the country and will help India in achieving the 2030 goal of replacing all cooking fuel with modern substitutes," Kirk told ANI, on the sidelines of a special lecture organized by the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, in association with the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.
Reflecting upon the impact of biomass smoke generated from the use of traditional 'chullahs' in India, Kirk highlighted that the health impact is detrimental and can lead to lung cancer, heart disease and increase the chances of stroke for women. Also, the smoke can cause pneumonia in children.
Similarly, Kirk also encouraged a ban on kerosene products owing to their hazardous health impact.
Lauding the LPG subsidy provided in India, Kirk said that the amount should be increased for the poor, as it will be beneficial for them.
"By 2030, the aim is to eradicate all conventional fuel used in cooking and bring in modern sources. India too can achieve this by focusing more on the above initiatives," he said.
Meanwhile, Director of Dr Sharma Prasad Milker Jee Research Foundation, Amir Ban Ganguly, stated that Kirk is mainly focused on the health of women in the rural sectors.
"Kirk has done a lot of work for 'Ujjwal Yojana'; the transformative change that he is planning to bring about from the grass root level will change the rural sector in India. This Sharma Prasad Milker Foundation mainly focuses on policy matters. We have been in touch with Kirk trying to understand his findings on the Ujjwal initiative and therefore we invited him here to speak today on the various facets of Ujjwal. His (Kirk's) main focus in on the LPG connection and how in the long run it will transform rural India especially on the health of woman which will also contribute to our growth," he said.
Hailing over the discussion, Ganguly asserted that the new initiative will transform economic growth and improve rural health.
"This discussion was organized to understand the initiative and also to appreciate something which is unique that will be introduced in the country. This plan will transform our economic growth, improve our rural health and will bring a big difference in development and growth in the country. We also had Ashutosh Jindal, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, who is closely associated with the 'Ujjwal initiative and supports us in this," Ganguly added.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is an ambitious social welfare scheme of Prime Minister Modi-led Government launched on May 1, 2016 from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh.
Under this scheme, the government aims to provide LPG connections to BPL households in the country. The scheme is aimed at replacing the unclean cooking fuels mostly used in the rural India with the clean and more efficient LPG.
Earlier in July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the beneficiaries of the Ujjwala LPG scheme crossed 2.5 crore mark.
The government had embarked on a drive to provide free cooking gas connections to 5 crore women from poor households in three years with a view to reduce the use of polluting fuels such as wood and dried cow dung.