Users given three months to get Aadhar cards linked with LPG connection

Direct transfer of benefit (DBT) scheme for LPG consumers has been launched in Tiruchi, Pudukottai, and Nagapattinam districts in the Central region of Tamil Nadu from November 1.

Although the Centre had planned to roll out the DBT in Tiruchi, Ariyalur, and Pudukottai districts from July 1, the move was deferred as the ground work, including linkage/seeding of bank accounts and the Aadhaar numbers of the consumers was not done. The scheme was launched in Ariyalur district on October 1 amidst much confusion.

A few days ago, an advertisement was issued in newspapers here informing LPG consumers that the DBT scheme was being launched in Tiruchi and Pudukottai districts from November 1. Consumers were advised to submit the bank account-Aadhaar linkage application form at their bank branches and link their Aadhaar numbers with the LPG consumer numbers by visiting their LPG distributors to avail the subsidy for the cylinders. Although the advertisement did not say whether Aadhaar was mandatory for getting the subsidy, it said: “Domestic LPG is available at market price without Aadhaar.”

Under the scheme, LPG consumers will have to buy the refills at full market price and the difference between the subsidised and market prices will be transferred to their bank account for up to nine cylinders a year. The Aadhaar platform, which provides a resident a 12-digit unique number after recording bio-metric information such as fingerprints and iris, is being used to implement the cash transfer scheme.

In September, the Supreme Court had ruled that Aadhaar could not be made mandatory for people to get government services and subsidy and nobody should be deprived of such facilities for want of the card. It rejected the review petition filed by the government on this issue.

Recently, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M. Veerappa Moily had said that Aadhaar would not be mandatory for one to avail oneself of the subsidy for domestic cylinders till it was cleared by the Supreme Court or through legislative authorisation.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa too had opposed the introduction of the DBT for LPG consumers in view of the slow pace of the assigning Aadhaar numbers.

In view of the opposition from the State government, district officials are maintaining a hands-off approach and say that they are not aware of the modalities of the implementation of the scheme.

A senior officer of the Indian Oil Corporation in Tiruchi, when contacted, confirmed that the DBT had been launched in Tiruchi and Nagapattinam districts of IOCL’s Tiruchi region. (The scheme has been launched in Pudukottai and Madurai districts too).

“The scheme is on from November 1. Consumers are required to get their Aadhaar cards and carry out the linkage process at the banks and their distributors within three months,” he said.

He clarified that e-Aadhaar letters generated online will be accepted as only the numbers were required for linking them with the consumer numbers.

Consumers could carry out the linkage process online or through SMS, he said.

Although the Aadhaar coverage in the three districts was put at approximately 70 per cent of their respective above-five population, the figure refers mainly to the recording of bio-metric data of the residents under the National Population Register programme.

Aadhaar cards were yet to reach many of those covered so far.

The second round of NPR camps was still going on in the districts.

According to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas website on DBTL (http://www.petroleum.nic.in/dbtl/index.htm), the scheme is to be launched in Cuddalore, Perambalur, Karur, Dharmapuri, Salem, Virudhunagar and Erode districts in the State from December 1 under phase V and in Thanjavur, Dindigul, Tiruvarur, Namakkal, Vellore, Ramanthapuram, Villupuram, Theni, Kanyakumari, Kancheepuram, Tuticorin, Tirunelveli and Krishnagiri districts from January 1 under phase VI of the roll out.