Despite Narendra Modi's LPG push, household air pollution kills 8 lakh people -Prabhash K Dutta

The Modi government said it distributed free LPG connections to 8 crore households. A new study says 16 crore households still use solid fuels for cooking which causes 8 lakh annual deaths in India.

* 11 lakh people die premature every year due to air pollution in India
* 8 lakh or about 80 per cent of these deaths are caused by household air pollution
* Modi government said it has distributed free LPG connections to 8 crore households

Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a thumping majority in the Lok Sabha election dismissing all hullaballoo about rural distress and neglect of the poor. Analysts have credited Narendra Modi government's LPG scheme among other things for the BJP's return to power.

The government claimed that it distributed more than 8 crore free LPG connections to the poor and Narendra Modi referred to it in his election rallies saying that the Ujjwala Yojana had helped women work in air pollution-free environment.

But a recent report by a team of researchers is not in sync with the claims made by the government. Findings published by the Collaborative Clean Air Policy Centre ahead of the World Environment Day suggest that household air pollution (HAP) is the single-biggest cause for deaths due to air pollution in India.

Solid fuel flies in the face of LPG campaign

Household air pollution is caused by the use of solid fuels - wood, leaves, dung and agricultural waste - for cooking purposes.

The report says that about 16 crore households in India or 58 crore people - roughly half the population of the country - still use solid fuels. Firewood is the most common solid fuel used in these households.

According to official data (2011), there are less than 25 crore households in the country. This means despite the great LPG push, solid fuels continue to fuel deaths among poorer Indians. Women are at the greatest risk of death due to household pollution.

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India Today, 5 June, 2019,

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