The scheme has crossed 2.28 million transactions, benefiting 1.25 million LPG households, says Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily
The ambitious direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for domestic LPG cylinder, launched in 18 districts of the country on June 1, has crossed 2.28 million transactions. Indications are that the scheme will be rolled out throughout the country by the year-end.
Terming it a big success, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily said that so far the rollout had doled out about Rs. 91 crore in subsidy. When the scheme is rolled out throughout the country, it would help prevent Rs. 8,000-9,000 crore going to unintended beneficiaries. Under this scheme, each consumer gets Rs. 435 in his/her bank account when an LPG cylinder is booked. The subsidy can be used to buy an LPG refill at the market price, which is roughly double the subsidised rate of Rs. 410 per 14.2-kg cylinder in Delhi.
“Within six weeks, we have been able to complete 2.28 million transactions, touching the lives of 1.25 million LPG households,” Mr. Moily said after reviewing the implementation of the scheme. The review meeting was attended by Unique Identification Authority of India chairman, Nandan Nilekani, Petroleum Secretary Vivek Rae and DBT Mission Director S. Sundareshan along with heads of the State-owned oil companies IOC, BPCL and HPCL.
Mr. Moily said the scheme was launched this month in Mysore and it would be extended to Mandi in Himachal Pradesh from August 1.
He indicated that the Petroleum Ministry would present to the Cabinet a status report on the scheme’s implementation on August 15 following which a decision would be taken on its countrywide rollout.
While as many as 89 per cent of the LPG consumers in these districts had an Aadhaar number, the government gave them three months to link their bank accounts to the UID number to enable transfer of the cash subsidy. From September 1, after the end of the grace period, LPG cylinders would be sold to all domestic consumers at the market price.
“While the scheme may be termed a success, we cannot become complacent. Therefore, I have asked my officers to visit all the districts and get feedback and assess the field-level problems in the scheme so that we can make midcourse corrections,” he added.
Currently, consumers are entitled to buy nine 14.2-kg LPG cylinders at subsidised rates in a year. Many of these are sold in the black market to unintended users such as commercial establishments, who would otherwise have to buy the fuel at market prices.