The government is gearing up for the next big leap under the Direct Cash Transfer (DCT) scheme to bring a huge number of nearly 14 crore LPG consumers under its ambit.

The scheme, which is likely to be launched from July 1, is aimed at directly putting the subsidy component of the domestic cylinder into the bank account of the consumers to eliminate the leakages in the system and address the problem of diversion of domestic cylinders for commercial market.

The scheme will be introduced around the middle of next month in 20 districts and later will be extended to a bigger chunk of consumers and practically cover over 14 crore consumers by the year end.

“The banks and the oil marketing companies [OMCs] have already been sounded out by the Finance Ministry and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry to gear up for rollout of the scheme in a big way,” a senior Petroleum Ministry official said.

The consumers are likely to get around Rs.4,000 per annum from the government, and they will have to then buy LPG at the market price of Rs. 901.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder.

Currently, each consumer is entitled to 9 cylinders of 14.2-kg each at the subsidised price of Rs.410.50. The government bears a subsidy Rs.435 per cylinder.

The Planning Commission is already gearing up for meetings with 78 District Collectors to give momentum to the scheme.

The initiative comes after Finance Minister P. Chidambaram met the Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily last week to discuss the details of the scheme and its implementation.

Mr. Chidambaram also held a series of meetings with representatives of the banks who assured him that they were ready for the big rollout from July.

Under the scheme, subsidies and other benefits will be transferred directly into the Aadhaar-linked bank account of beneficiary.

The Finance Ministry is of the view that keeping in mind the huge number of consumers under the LPG scheme, the beneficiaries (consumers) would have to directly approach the banks for seeding of Aadhaar numbers to their bank accounts.

“It has been decided that the beneficiaries would approach the banks with documents of their Aadhaar number. The banks would seed the Aadhaar into the beneficiaries’ bank account,’’ according to a circular issued by the Finance Ministry to the banks and OMCs.

Seeding of Aadhaar number to the bank account is essential for the government to identify beneficiaries.

On the other hand, the OMCs have been asked to provide data and details of the consumers to ensure that the benefits of the scheme percolate to the beneficiaries. A series of meetings between the Finance and Petroleum Ministries is planned for the next fortnight to give a final touch to the details for the initial launch of the scheme next month.

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