Financial burden has to be assessed before scheme is extended to others: Chandy
Consequent on the Congress party’s core committee recommendation to raise the number of subsidised LPG cylinders from six to nine a year, the Kerala government on Wednesday announced that the additional three subsidised cylinders would be targeted at the BPL (below the poverty line) category on the basis of the consumption pattern in 2011-12.
Addressing a press conference here, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the government would examine the additional financial burden caused by the decision and work out the number of persons under the BPL category before considering its extension to the higher income group, though the government would not make a commitment on it.
How it works
According to the scheme announced by Mr. Chandy, a BPL consumer who booked seven cylinders during 2011-12 would be eligible for an additional subsidised cylinder, while a consumer who booked eight cylinders would be eligible for two and those who booked nine cylinders could claim three. A total of 17 lakh consumers booked seven to nine cylinders a year, he said, quoting figures given by LPG companies on the consumption pattern in Kerala during 2011-12.
However, the government did not know how many of these belonged to the BPL category. A rough calculation showed that the burden would come to Rs.120 crore a year if subsidy would have to be given for 36 lakh cylinders.
Mr. Chandy said that out of the total 70 lakh LPG consumers in the State, those who booked more than nine cylinders came to only 16 per cent. Those who booked six cylinders and below came to 64.84 per cent, while 19.22 per cent accounted for those who booked seven to eight cylinders.
The percentage of those who booked nine to 10 cylinders came to 10.5 per cent, 11 to 12 cylinders 3.76 per cent, and 12 cylinders and above 1.08 per cent.
The State government had set a model by foregoing additional income on sales tax worth Rs.557 crore, after petrol price was hiked four times and diesel price twice. “We firmly believe that we had displayed our commitment to the people… State governments and political parties have been prompt in criticising the Centre for the hikes, but have been reluctant to forego additional tax income from the higher prices,” Mr. Chandy said.
While expressing Kerala’s strong protest at the frequent increase in petroleum prices, the State had also demanded that the Union government set a model by giving up additional taxes and duties.
17 lakh people in State buy 7-9 cylinders a year State unsure of number of BPL consumers among them
17 lakh people in State buy 7-9 cylinders a year
State unsure of number of BPL consumers among them