Council on Energy, Environment and Water Integrated | International | Independent
Policy Brief

Access to Clean Cooking Energy in India

Beyond Connections, Towards Sustained Use

Sasmita Patnaik, Sara Dethier, Abhishek Jain
October 2017 | Clean Air, Energy Transitions

Suggested Citation: Patnaik, Sasmita and Saurabh Tripathi. 2017. Access to Clean Cooking Energy in India: State of The Sector. New Delhi: Council on Energy, Environment and Water. 


As of 2011, while 53 per cent of households in India had an LPG connection, only 28 per cent used it as a primary source of cooking (Census, 2011). The latest, and the largest, effort by the government to improve access to clean cooking energy in the country is the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana (PMUY), which provides free LPG connections to all BPL households as per the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC). Despite significant success in addressing the challenge of affordability of connections, and some improvements in the reliable availability of the fuel, the scheme falls short of addressing the challenges posed by affordability of the recurring cost of fuel and generating consumer awareness of the health impacts.

Comparison of uptake of LPG connections among SECC BPL vs SECC non-BPL households

This policy brief reviews the existing policies pertaining to clean cooking energy, analyses a broad range of demand- and supply-side challenges that hinder the penetration and sustained use of clean cooking energy solutions, and proposes an interdisciplinary and multidimensional national approach for addressing these issues.

Sustained use of clean cooking energy is influenced by multiple factors like affordability of a connection, affordability of the recurring cost of the fuel, accessibility of the fuel, consumer awareness of the adverse health impacts of using traditional biomass, and success in overcoming behavioural challenges.

Comparison of willingness to pay for LPG connections between SECC BPL and SECC non-BPL households

Source: PPAC 2017 and ACCESS 2015

The challenges presented by affordability and accessibility of clean cooking fuel leads to the stacking of clean cooking energy with traditional biomass.

Key Highlights

  • To eliminate exposure to pollution from the burning of traditional biomass, it is important to facilitate stacking between a mix of clean cooking fuels (which might be LPG, biogas, improved cookstoves, PNG or electricity), rather than one clean cooking energy option with the traditional chulha.
  • A collaborative effort by various ministries (beyond only the energy-related ministries) is required to enhance clean cooking energy access. This brief provides an overview of the potential roles and relevance of concerned ministries.
  • Traditional cooking methods disproportionately affect women in terms of the drudgery involved, adverse health outcomes, and lost opportunity cost of time. It is imperative to include them in the design and execution of solutions for clean cooking energy access.
  • PMUY in its current form targets SECC BPL households, leaving out all SECC non- BPL households, many of which may not have access to clean cooking energy. SECC non-BPL households exhibit greater willingness to adopt LPG, as well as express greater readiness to pay for its regular consumption.
  • The increasing dependence on direct and indirect imports of LPG is a cause for concern, since it will increase India’s existing dependence on imports, expose a basic household need to market fluctuations and vulnerabilities, and take away from investments in alternatives for clean cooking energy that might be sustainable for households in the long run.

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