Below is a statement from Alliance CEO Radha Muthiah on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to provide free LPG connections to 50 million families:

"I commend Prime Minister Modi’s ambitious plans to connect 50 million Indian families to cooking gas over the next three years. A clean cooking program of this scale is unprecedented and could fundamentally change people’s lives while simultaneously delivering a significant boost to India’s ongoing battle against air pollution. The program could be particularly impactful for women, who do the large majority of cooking in India, and it is encouraging to see Prime Minister Modi making women a key focus of his plan.

Household air pollution is a leading cause of illness and death in India - responsible for nearly one million preventable deaths each year.  Switching millions of people from cooking with solid fuels to consistent use of clean fuels like LPG is thus a major public health imperative. Beyond health, LPG could  also deliver dramatic benefits to the environment, especially air quality.

A program of this magnitude is not without its challenges, particularly when trying to reach geographically diverse rural areas and convincing people to change the way they have cooked for decades. For millions of Indians the chula is part of everyday life. One of the keys to success for Prime Minister Modi’s campaign will be convincing consumers to give up their chula and make the switch to a gas-burning cookstove. Changing behaviors isn’t easy, but we know it can be done, and it must be a major component of this campaign if it is to achieve the health and environmental outcomes that we know are possible.

By delivering universal access to cleaner cooking fuels, India can take a significant step toward addressing its air quality issues and improving health while also serving as an example for other countries working to ensure cooking no longer kills. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves believes that fuels are a critical ingredient to the success of a sustainable cookstove sector and we look forward to continuing to support the government and in-country stakeholders and partners to achieve this ambitious vision."