Deadline for Direct Benefit Transfer ended on Tuesday
With the deadline for the introduction of the Aadhaar-based Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG subsidy (DBTL) expiring on Tuesday and the Union government and the Petroleum Ministry maintaining silence over any further extension, gas agencies across Ernakulam are anticipating another surge of consumers in the coming days to seed their Aadhaar number with LPG consumer ID.
India Oil Corporation (IOC) with the biggest subscriber base of 41 lakh claims that 68-70 per cent of their subscribers have already seeded their Aadhaar numbers with LPG Consumer ID and bank accounts. The coverage is somewhat similar in the case of Bharat Petroleum with about 21 lakh subscribers and Hindustan Petroleum with a subscriber base of about 13.5 lakh.
Oil company officials told The Hindu that only non-subsidised cylinders would be available in the market from the New Year with the subsidy component getting credited to the bank account of only those subscribers who have seeded their Aadhaar number both the with bank accounts and LPG consumer ID.
A non-subsidised cooking gas cylinder already costs more than Rs. 1,000 in the market and the price would fluctuate every month with changes in the international market.
Mujeeb, a government servant who is yet to seed the Aadhaar number, felt that the government has forcibly thrust a system on the public in violation of a Supreme Court order. The apex court had asked the Centre against making Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes.
An oil company official admitted that the government had introduced the DBTL overriding the verdict by maintaining a strategic silence on any further extension for its rollout.
District Supply Officer K. Suresh Kumar said there were not many complaints on Aadhaar seeding of late with many believing that DBTL was inevitable. Whether there would be fresh bout of complaints would be known only in the coming days as the deadline expired only on Tuesday, he said.
Oil company officials said that except when there was a excessive rush, the online seeding of Aadhaar number on the part of the gas agencies got done instantaneously. The process may take up to two or three days in times of rush. Subsidy would get credited to the bank account for refill booked within two days from the date of seeding, officials said.
Oil companies, however, did not anticipate an excessive rush with only about 30 per cent of the combined subscriber-base of all oil companies remaining to seed their Aadhaar number.
Oil companies shot down complaints by gas agencies of huge workload from Aadhaar seeding, transfer of subscribership, and booking of refills.
A BPCL source said a majority of their gas agencies were still not maintaining staff strength at a level agreed with the company. The originally allotted staff strength should be enough to meet any existing workload, it was pointed out. IOC maintained that the workload on Aadhaar seeding was not going to be permanent as it would come down once the entire subscribers were covered.