Fact Checking Government claims over schemes for ensuring ‘Quality of life to Women’

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Has the Ujjwala scheme benefitted more than 3 crore households? Here is a fact check

The government published an infographic on its  48-month portal that talks about ‘Ensuring Quality Life to Women’.  This particular infographic makes two claims regarding two flagship schemes of the government: Ujjwala Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan. The following article is a fact check of these claims.

Ujjwala Yojana_infographic

Has the Ujjwala scheme benefitted more than 3.8 crore households?
The first claim is that the government is ‘Ensuring smoke free lives for every Indian family through Ujjwala Yojana’. It says 3.8 crore poor women were provided with free LPG connections and that the target was raised to 8 crore. As per the website of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), the scheme aims to safeguard the health of women & children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel – LPG, so that they don’t have to compromise their health in smoky kitchens or wander in unsafe areas collecting firewood.

PMUY was launched in May 2016 in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. Under this scheme, 5 crore LPG connections were to be provided to BPL families. Under PMUY, cash assistance up to Rs. 1600 is provided for releasing new LPG connection by the Government. The beneficiary bears the cost of Hot Plate and purchase of first refill. The beneficiary has option to take Hot Plate or the first refill or both on loan basis, from OMCs at zero interest rate and the same is recovered through subsidy received by the beneficiary as and when refill is purchased.

The overall allocation to the scheme was Rs. 8000 crores between 2016 & 2019.  Identification of the BPL families for the scheme is done through the Socio Economic Caste Census Data.

According to an answer provided in the Lok Sabha by the government, a total of 3.19 crore LPG connections were released under PMUY as of December 2016. This number was at 4.73 crore in July 2018. A press note from the government in February 2018 noted that the Cabinet has approved enhancing the target under PMUY to 8 crore connections from the earlier 5 crore with an additional budget allocation of Rs. 4,800 crores.

During the UPA government, under the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin LPG Vitaran Yojana (RGGLVY), a one-time grant was provided to BPL families in the rural areas for release of new domestic LPG connection. In this scheme, the security deposit for the domestic LPG cylinder and pressure regulator was paid from a fund created through contributions from the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds of ONGC, OIL, GAIL, BPCL, HPCL and IOCL.

A scheme similar to Ujjwala is in operation in Andhra Pradesh since 1999.  The scheme was called the ‘‘Deepam’ where the connection fee was paid by the government for BPL households.

Claim: 3.8 crore poor women provided with free LPG connections, target raised to 8 crore.

Fact: The number of connections under PMUY crossed 4.7 crores as of July 2018.  The target has now been raised from 5 crore to 8 crore connections. Hence, the claim is TRUE.

What about the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan?
The second claim is that ‘Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan’ (PMSMA) is making safe pregnancy a mass movement and states that more than 1.16 crore antenatal check-ups have been conducted. According to the official government website, the PMSMA envisages to improve the quality and coverage of Antenatal Care (ANC) including diagnostics and counselling services as part of the Reproductive Maternal Neonatal Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) Strategy. The program was introduced in 2016.

As per an answer provided by the Government in the Lok Sabha in July 2018, free antenatal services are provided to all pregnant women visiting 13047 PMSMA sites across the country and over 1.35 crore antenatal checkups have been conducted under the program.

The previous UPA government had launched the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) in 2005. It was also a safe motherhood intervention under the National Health Mission with an objective of reducing maternal and neonatal mortality by promoting institutional delivery among poor pregnant women. Even under this scheme, there were an average of one crore beneficiaries every year.

Claim: More than 1.16 crore antenatal check-ups have been conducted.

Fact: Over 1.35 crore antenatal checkups have been conducted under the program till July 2018. Hence, the claim is TRUE.

This story is part of a larger series on the 4-years of the Modi government. This series has been made possible with the flash grant of the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN). Read the rest of the stories in this series here.

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