1 lakh households have no electricity, 85% of rural India uses firewood as fuel

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43% of rural households still use kerosene to light their houses. Even in urban India, the proportion of those using LPG is under two-thirds. But 20% of urban Indians too still use firewood for cooking

Barely one in every ten households in rural Bihar and two-thirds of houses in the state’s urban areas use electricity to light their houses, Census 2011 figures reveal.

Just over half of rural India uses electricity as its main source of lighting, an increase of 12% over 2001. If that seems heartening, the data also shows that 43% of rural households still use kerosene to light their houses, implying that the kerosene subsidy may not be as pointless as some would suggest. In urban India, the spread of electricity is more complete, with 93% of households using electricity as their primary source of light.

Perhaps the most depressing statistic on this count is that there are still 11 lakh households in India with no source of lighting whatsoever. That is a number slightly larger than the number of households using solar lighting.

Data on the other major use of fuels, that is cooking, shows an even less modern picture, with over 85% of rural India still using firewood, crop residue or cow dung as its primary source of fuel for cooking. Even in urban India, the proportion of those using LPG is under twothirds. The proportion of families in urban India using kerosene for cooking has been reduced to almost a third of the 2001 figure over the last decade. But 20% of urban Indians too still use firewood for cooking. For urban and rural areas put together, the proportion of those using kerosene as the primary cooking fuel has come down from 6.5% to 2.9% over the last 10 years.

In Bihar and Orissa, the spread of LPG lags far behind the rest of the country, with less than 10% of households in both states using LPG.

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