Tries to meet November 30 deadline for Aadhaar-based scheme

The more than 80 lakh domestic LPG consumers in the State will do well to enrol under Aadhaar and get the Aadhaar number seeded with their respective LPG consumer ID and bank account to ensure uninterrupted supply of subsidized cooking gas from next month.

Though the Supreme Court had directed against making Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes, the oil companies are steaming ahead to meet the November 30 deadline for the implementation of the Aadhaar-based Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG subsidy (DBTL) in the absence of any specific direction from the Union Ministry for Petroleum and Natural Gas.

DBTL requires LPG consumers to seed their Aadhaar numbers with their respective LPG consumer ID and bank account, on which they will become Cash Transfer Complaint (CTC) consumers, facilitating direct transfer of subsidy for each cylinder to their bank accounts up to a capped limit of nine cylinders a year.

For this, consumers will have to apply in a prescribed form, or through internet, along with a copy of their Aadhaar card or letter with the gas agency and the bank concerned.

About 50 per cent of the 20-lakh subscribers of BPCL in the State have become CTC while it is about 35 per cent for HPCL, which has the close to 10 lakh subscribers in the State. The data is not available for Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), which has the biggest subscriber base of more than 50 lakh in the State.

A senior official of a major oil company said that not only had they received any direction from the government to go slow on DBTL but instead there was a notification that stated that there was no violation of the Supreme Court order in collecting Aadhaar number for direct transfer of subsidy.

Subsidy is already being routed through bank accounts in the case of consumers who have become CTC. Such consumers are required to pay the non-subsidized rate while the subsidy component gets credited to their bank accounts. But this has not been without its share of problems. There were complaints of gas agencies collecting more than the actual price and variation in the subsidy credited to their accounts.

Oil company officials said that the market price of domestic LPG will keep on varying monthly and consequently the subsidy component as well. A slight variation in the subsidy credited had been attributed to the tax collected by the State government.

Oil companies also ruled out the gas agencies collecting more than the bill amount stating that though issued by gas agency operators, the bills are being set by the oil companies. For instance, the non-subsidized rate of a domestic LPG cylinder of IOC in Ernakulam comes to Rs. 993.50 while the subsidy comes to about Rs. 525.92.

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