A Low-Cost Stove Use Monitor to Enable Conditional Cash Transfers


Conditional cash transfers (CCTs)—cash payments provided to households or specific household members who meet defined conditions or fulfill certain behaviors—have been extensively used in India to encourage antenatal care, institutional delivery, and vaccination. This paper describes the social design and technical development of a low-cost, meal-counting stove use monitor (the Pink Key) that enables a CCT based on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) usage and presents pilot data from its testing and the initial deployment. The system consists of a sensing harness attached to a two-burner LPG stove and an easily removable datalogger. For each cooking event with LPG, households receive 2 rupees—less than the cost of fuel, but enough to partially defray LPG refill costs. The system could enable innovative “self-monitoring” at a large scale—participants initiate the CCT by bringing their Pink Key to antenatal clinic visits, where care providers download data and initiate payments, and participants return the sensor to their stove at home. The system aligns with existing Indian programs to improve health among poor, pregnant women, and contributes a new method to encourage the use of clean cooking technologies.

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The authors thank the participating households in and around Junnar for their generosity, time, and patience. We also thank the extended KEM field team for their dedicated and thorough work, especially Avinash Mhaske and Vrishali Meher, who managed CCT field operations. We acknowledge important contributions from and discussions with colleagues at University of California, Berkeley, and at the Implementation Science Network.


This project received funding through NIH/Fogarty’s Clean Cooking Implementation Science Network with support from the NIH Common Fund. The content within does not necessarily represent the view of the funders.

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Correspondence to Ajay Pillarisetti.

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Pillarisetti, A., Gill, M., Allen, T. et al. A Low-Cost Stove Use Monitor to Enable Conditional Cash Transfers. EcoHealth 15, 768–776 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-018-1379-5

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  • Household air pollution
  • Biomass cooking
  • Liquefied petroleum gas
  • LPG
  • India
  • Solid fuel use
  • Temperature sensors