Publication - Are India’s Urban Poor Using Clean Cooking Fuels? Insights from Slums in Six States

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Are India’s Urban Poor Using Clean Cooking Fuels? Insights from Slums in Six States
Shaily Jha, Sasmita Patnaik, and Rithima Warrier
Published in
March 2021
With increased urbanisation, India is experiencing acute air pollution in its urban centres. Slum dwellers are doubly affected, both by the higher concentration of particulate matter in urban areas as well as indoor air pollution from the use of unclean cooking fuels. With more than 13.7 million people living in slums in country (Census 2011), there is a strong impetus to understand the use of clean cooking fuels in such households.

Existing literature on energy access and use in slums across developing countries assume that energy infrastructure is available in these settlements as they are situated in urban environments (Butera et al. 2016). Household air pollution (HAP) has an estimated average contribution of 30–50 per cent to ambient air quality across India’s urban and rural areas (Balakrishnan et al. 2019). Addressing biomass burning for cooking, water heating, and space heating during the winters has the potential to help reach the national ambient air quality standards (Chowdhury et al. 2019).

However, our analysis shows that a large share of these households do not have access to clean fuels due to lack of afforability or patchy supply. In this brief, we discuss access to clean cooking energy in urban slums across six states (Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh). These states have a low socio-demographic index and a high disease burden due to air pollution (Balakrishnan et al. 2019). The findings of this brief are based on a primary survey conducted in rural areas and urban slums in these states – Cooking Energy Access Survey 20201 . The analysis focuses on the fuel use patterns of

households, the extent of use of LPG and solid fuels, fuel stacking behaviour, and the primarycook’s perception of various cooking fuels and their health impacts.