Firewood, Forests, and Fringe Populations: A Socio-Economic Exploration of LPG Adoption in India
Credit: Sarika Ann Khanwilkar
The latest Voluntary National Review Report (VNR) 2020 of India states that India has fully adopted the SDG framework and has aligned its development priorities with the Global Goals and mentions that Government of India’s flagship program, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) launched 2016 to combat the dependence on biomass for cooking, improving women’s health and empowerment has already achieved its target of enabling 80 million households to access LPG for cooking as of September 2019.
However, multiple studies undertaken recently have discovered that while PMUY allowed for LPG access and affordability, the program did not monitor LPG use after adoption. In order to determine the impact of the PMUY for rural households, Sarika Khanwilkar (Columbia University and NCCI member) and other co-authors of a studied the socioeconomic and environmental drivers of cooking fuel choice and firewood collection in rural Indian households living near forests in the Central Indian Landscape. They specifically assessed the influence of LPG ownership over time on seasonal household firewood collection patterns.
~ By Satvik Parashar
A recent study by Sandra Baqui´ from Columbia University and co-authors (including some NCCI members) assesses the effects of internal migration on poverty alleviation and reduced pressure on forests. Migration can, in theory, diversify income sources and increase asset ownership for a typical central Indian rural household. It can also contribute to forest restoration as a livelihood practice that is not dependent on forest extraction (compared to NTFP collection or cattle grazing). The study tests these very hypotheses with an extensive survey across rural central India.
The study was conducted in villages of central India, spanning the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, across a total geographical area of ~ 25 million hectares. Villages within 8km buffer of the forests were selected. They were split on the basis of distance from the town and then again on the basis of distance from the road, creating 4 groups. Total 5000 surveys were done in the 500 selected villages (10 households per village) equally distributed among the 4 groups.
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