Process has to be completed within grace period: Centre

Domestic cooking gas consumers who have not linked their Aadhaar number to liquefied petroleum gas connection number and bank account within the given grace period will not be eligible for subsidised cylinders.

This was the underlying message from the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in a press release on Monday, about the Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) scheme.

“At the end of grace period of each phase [of DBTL roll-out], LPG cylinders will be sold to all domestic LPG consumers at market price,” it said. What this means is consumers have three months (grace period), from the time DBTL is launched in their district, to get the Aadhaar number and link it to their LPG connection number and bank account. This way, they would be assured of the LPG subsidy which at prevailing rates is nearly Rs.550 per cylinder. Considering that every consumer is eligible to get nine domestic cylinders in a financial year, the total subsidy works out to around Rs.4,950.

“The subsidy [amount] will be transferred to only those who have linked Aadhaar number to LPG consumer number and bank accounts and others will not get any subsidy,” the release said.

While the Ministry statement is bound to fuel a debate on the legal validity of insisting on Aadhaar, consumers in Ariyalur, the district from where DBTL was rolled out in Tamil Nadu in October, will be relieved at the extension.

Instead of three months, the Ministry has decided to extend the grace period there to four months. Hence, domestic LPG consumers who have not seeded their Aadhaar to LPG connection and bank accounts would continue to be supplied subsidised cylinders till January-end.

Consumers in over 40 more districts across the country, where the third phase of DBTL was launched, get similar grace time. A formal announcement in this regard was expected to be made soon, sources in the oil industry said.

The release, giving details of DBTL so far, said in Tamil Nadu, the number of transactions and subsidy amount transferred to bank accounts was the highest in Tiruchi at 80,546 and Rs.3.94 crore respectively. Madurai stood next with 61,993 and Rs.3.01 crore respectively.

In Puducherry, the number of transactions was 6.70 lakh and the subsidy amount transferred was Rs.33.83 crore. Noting that Rs.2,000 crore has been transferred directly to LPG customers’ bank accounts in 184 districts across the country, since DBTL scheme was launched in June this year, the Ministry said the scheme ensures that the benefit reaches the intended beneficiary. Thereby, wastage/leakage in the subsidy delivery system is curbed.

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