Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said successful implementation of PAHAL, effecting elimination of duplicate and ghost consumers, has resulted in estimated savings of more than Rs 21,000 crore.

"Today, we are having more than 160 million consumers registered under PAHAL, who are getting subsidy directly into their bank account. Successful implementation of PAHAL has resulted in estimated savings of more than Rs 21,000 crore through the elimination of duplicate/fake/ghost consumers," said Pradhan.

The minister disclosed this while addressing the International Conference on LPG cooking gas here. The conference was attended by Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu and Lakshmi Puri, United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of United Nations Women.

Pradhan said more than 10 million consumers have voluntarily given up LPG subsidy.

The minister said 17.4 crore households, out of total 28 crore households in the country, have access to LPG.

When the present government took office in May 2014, only 13 crore households had access to LPG, he added.

Pradhan termed LPG as an instrument for empowering women belonging to poor households, and said millions of Indian households, especially in rural areas, still continue to use traditional sources of cooking fuels.

According to the World Health Organization, 15 lakh persons die every year due to indoor air pollution in world and 5 lakh in India alone. Indoor air pollution is also responsible for a significant number of acute respiratory diseases in young children, the minister said.

He said the eastern region of the country has the lowest LPG coverage, and the low LPG coverage is attributed to poor economic conditions of the region.

Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu recounted her experience as a village dweller with no access to LPG.

She emphasised that the present government intervention in LPG sector will result in significant improvement in the convenience of women.