IIT KGP new technology to help increase LPG connections

Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have now devised a decision support system that promises to help the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) to maximise LPG connections in BPL households.

A decision support system (DSS) is a computer programme that helps in making sound rational decisions using mathematical programming and operation research techniques. This approach, incidentally, is the first of its kind for analysis of a national level energy policy. Interestingly, PMUY, launched in May 2016, aims at providing 5 crore LPG connections by 2019 to BPL (below poverty line) families with the support of Rs 1,600 to each family. The centre has recently revised its aim to reach 8 crore LPG connections by 2020.

The DSS devised by the team at IIT-KGP, led by Prof Manoj Kumar Tiwari of the department of industrial and systems engineering, uses mixed integer linear programming to mathematically formulate the policy using input parameters, decision variables and their relationships. The mathematical model has found the optimum number of total (BPL) connections required in a region, number of dealerships that need to be commissioned in a region over the policy time frame. This type of mathematical modelling of a policy can be used as a reference for mathematical modelling of other policies, said Prof Tiwari.

He added, “DSS for such policies can provide us the exact values of important parameters over the prescribed policy time period, which in turn will help us to take important measures to ascertain the proper functioning (monitoring) of the policy towards the desired goal.”

The IIT Kharagpur team has done sensitivity analysis with the mathematical model, that is, change in a decision variable with respect to the change in parameter. With this, they can predict not only how the number of household connections can be increased but also the critical region that contributes most in each zone of LPG distribution.

Certain areas have been well covered, such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Rajasthan and West Bengal. But the centre also needs to pay attention to regions critical to LPG penetration, such as Assam, in order to achieve 100 per cent BPL household penetration. This kind of DSS can be developed for various federal and state level policies for various commodities like solar panels distributions, agricultural commodities and so on, he said.