Agriculture occupies a critical position in the country’s economy, ensuring food security, providing livelihoods, and indeed as a way of life for most rural people. Due to many reasons, growth in agriculture has been largely driven by groundwater based irrigation, powered by electricity.

The central government’s flagship programme to provide free liquefied petroleum gas connections has been in operation for two years, providing more than 3.5 crore free LPG connections to poor women. This much-needed scheme is a major step to reduce indoor air pollution, drudgery faced by women, and one that promises to extend LPG access. However, little is known about the progress of the scheme. Has it led to sustained use of clean fuels among poor households?

There is mounting evidence of the severe health impacts of household air pollution from burning traditional fuels such as firewood, agricultural residue, dung, coal and kerosene for cooking. This is particularly relevant in the Indian context where more than 75% of rural households in India primarily use such fuels.

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, to provide concessional LPG connections, is a step in the right direction but much more needs to be done by 2019 and beyond to ensure homes in India cook using modern fuels. This article explores the issues of providing connections, subsidy provisioning and ensuring sustained use of LPG and other modern fuels, so as to displace solid fuels from Indian kitchens. It also highlights the need for planning for increased demand and addressing institutional gaps to ensure that the benefits of modern fuel adoption, especially health benefits, are realised.