Cash subsidy of over Rs.1.2 crore was transferred into bank accounts of a miniscule percentage of only 27,649 consumers of the 48.82 lakh customers in five districts of Andhra Pradesh as the Aadhar-based Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG Subsidy (DBTL) scheme was kick-started in the State by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Besides the five districts--- Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, East Godavari, Chittoor and Anantapur, it was launched simultaneously in 18 other districts across the country covering another 73 lakh consumers. Of them, 37, 983 customers had seeded their Aadhar numbers with LPG distributors and banks. As a result, a subsidy of Rs.1.65 crore was transferred into their accounts.

Benami transactions

Launching the scheme, the Chief Minister said that only 57 per cent of the 48 lakh-odd consumers had enrolled themselves in the five districts so far and called for making it 100 per cent so that all eligible consumers could avail of the facility. He said that 7.70 crore people out of 8.47 crore had enrolled in the State. Once 100 per cent was achieved, at least 20-25 per cent benami transactions will be eliminated, he added.

He said the Centre was spending a subsidy of Rs.55,000 core on cooking gas in the country and Rs.5,200 crore in AP. He said that the Planning Commission had promised to sort out the issues relating to Aadhar cards in the State at the earliest. Following the online payment of scholarships, the benami accounts were eliminated and the State could save up to Rs.300 crore.

Mr. Reddy also used the occasion to request Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Panabaka Lakshmi to ensure an increase in gas allocation to Andhra Pradesh to overcome power shortage.

Ms. Panabaka Lakshmi said the main objective of the scheme was to free people from the clutches of middlemen. She said that 1.7 crore of the 15 crore LPG consumers in the country were in Andhra Pradesh. Following the launch of the ‘Know-Your-Customer’ initiative, the overall subsidy on petrol, diesel and LPG gas came down to Rs.97,000 crore from Rs.1,65 lakh crore.

The DBTL scheme would eliminate all ghost LPG connections, prevent diversion of cylinders and ensure that the benefits reached the beneficiary. Lauding Andhra Pradesh for being at the forefront of Aadhar enrolment, she said that DBTL scheme would be launched in 10 more districts in the second phase.

Later, talking to reporters, she said that after steps were initiated to ensure that each household had only one LPG connection, the diversion was checked and gas cylinders for commercial use went up from three per cent to 16 per cent.

She said the Group of Empowered Ministers would decide on increasing gas allocation to the State.