Significant fall in sale of kerosene under PDS in Alwar
The Aadhaar platform can be successfully used to plug subsidy leakage if the results of a pilot project in Alwar, Rajasthan, are any indication.
Under the project, subsidy on kerosene, supplied under the public distribution system, is transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. The pilot, launched in December last year, in Kotkasim tehsil, Alwar district, has shown a significant change in the consumption pattern, says the district administration website.
Sale of kerosene decreased by 79 per cent in December, 2011, 73 per cent in January and 82 per cent in February. Data sourced from oil companies also show that they lifted considerably less kerosene during this period compared to that allocated to them.
PDS kerosene, on which the under-recovery, as per Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, is as much as Rs.31 a litre for the oil companies, finds its way into the open market, where it is sold at a premium. Kerosene finds applications in various industries, but the most common misuse, a menace, is to adulterate diesel. Studies, sources in the oil industry say, have shown that nearly 40 per cent of the PDS supplies are misused. The district administration said the coverage under the scheme progressively improved. The number of bank accounts opened for the beneficiaries rose from 6,000 in December to 15,020 in February. The number of family cardholders in the tehsil is 25,843. Among them, 1,239 have double bottle LPG connection and not eligible for kerosene supply, while 3,085 single gas connection households get relatively less quantity of kerosene.
Aadhaar, which has various features such as biometric tools, ensures that only beneficiaries draw supplies from fair price shops and benefit from the subsidy. They have to, however, pay at the market price while drawing kerosene from the shops, which is Rs.45 a litre. Prior to the launch of the scheme, the per-litre price was Rs.15.25.