Direct transfer of amount planned

With the talk of government working to restrict subsidy burden and controversy over cap on subsidised LPG cylinders, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said the Government was aware of the need to provide some subsidy to the rural poor for domestic LPG cylinder and electricity as part of the Government’s grand plan to provide energy to all.

Making the inaugural address at the International Seminar on Energy Access here, Dr. Singh said government was planning to transfer subsidy amount directly to bank accounts of bonafide beneficiaries. ```We aim to provide every Indian household with clean cooking fuel. This is a huge task but it is not unattainable. It is something we must do on priority,’’ he added.

The Prime Minister said it was a fact that most urban households use LPG as a means of cooking and efforts have been made to introduce LPG in rural areas especially for the poor sections of the society. ``We recognize that the rural poor will need some subsidy to afford electricity and LPG. The issue is to target the subsidy as best as possible,’’ Dr. Singh said.

He informed that a pilot project has been launched in Mysore district of Karnataka where 27,000 deliveries of subsidised cylinders were made by delivery boys after successful biometric authentication of any family member present at home using the unique identification number. ``In the next phase it is planned to transfer the subsidy amount directly to the bank accounts of bonafide beneficiaries. Around 12 per cent of around 190 million rural households use LPG to meet their cooking energy needs. Giving all the 240 million households in the country an entitlement of six LPG cylinders per year will require only around 25 million tonnes of LPG. This should be manageable for our country,’’ he said.

Dr. Singh said the Union Government aims to provide 24x7 power to all households in the country and affordable access to electricity in the next 5 years. ``As a result of our efforts, more than 100,000 villages have been provided with electricity connections in recent years. One million households in India are now using decentralised solar energy to meet their lighting energy needs. The government plans to install 20 GW of grid connected solar power by 2022. At present renewable power represents about 12 per cent of the total installed generating capacity in India. We hope to light up around 20 million rural households with solar home lighting by 2022,’’ Dr. Singh said.

He said the government aimed at accelerating the overall deployment of renewable energy in India to achieve around 55 GW of renewable power by the year 2017.

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