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CAG sees diversion of LPG cylinders for commercial use

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched in May 2016 to safeguard the health of women and children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel. | File

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched in May 2016 to safeguard the health of women and children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel. | File   | Photo Credit: Kamal Narang

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Report finds 1.98 lakh beneficiaries have an average annual consumption of more than 12 cylinders

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its report on the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), has highlighted the risk of diversion of domestic cylinders for commercial use as 1.98 lakh beneficiaries had an average annual consumption of more than 12 cylinders.

The CAG said this level of consumption seemed improbable in view of the BPL status of such beneficiaries.

“Similarly, 13.96 lakh beneficiaries consumed 3 to 41 refills in a month. Further, IOCL and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) in 3.44 lakh instances issued 2 to 20 refills in a day to a PMUY beneficiary having single-bottle cylinder connection,” it said.

The scheme was launched in May 2016 to safeguard the health of women and children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel. Its target was revised to eight crore LPG connections.

Also read | About 85% of Ujjwala beneficiaries in four States still use earthen stoves

As on 31 March 2019, Oil Marketing Companies had issued 7.19 crore LPG connections, which is about 90% of the target to be achieved till March 2020.

CAG sees diversion of LPG cylinders for commercial use

To rule out existing LPG connection in beneficiaries’ household, de-duplication was to be carried out based on Aadhaar of all family members.

“Audit noticed that out of 3.78 crore LPG connections, 1.60 crore (42%) connections were issued only on the basis of beneficiary Aadhaar which remained a deterrent in de-duplication,” said the report.

The CAG said that the laxity in identification of beneficiaries was noticed as 9,897 LPG connections were issued against Abridged Household List Temporary Identification Numbers (AHL TINs) where names of all family members and the beneficiary were blank in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC)-2011 list.

“Similarly, 4.10 lakh connections were issued against AHL TINs where entire details of family except that of one member were blank in the 2011 list...audit observed that due to lack of input validation check in Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) software, 1.88 lakh connections were released against AHL TIN of males,” said the report.

Lack of input validation check in the IOCL software allowed issue of 0.80 lakh connections to beneficiaries aged below 18 years.

Data analysis also revealed that 8.59 lakh connections were released to beneficiaries who were minor as per the SECC-2011 data, which was in violation of PMUY guidelines and LPG Control Order, 2000.

It also exposed the mismatch in the name of 12.46 lakh beneficiaries between the PMUY database and SECC-2011 data. The CAG, on field visits, also found that connections were given to “unintended” persons.

Besides, deficiencies in de-duplication to restrict issuance of duplicate connections were noticed in 12,465 cases. The lack of input validation check allowed release of 42,187 connections against invalid AHL TINs, which did not exist in the SECC-2011 data.

The audit also highlighted the delay of more than 365 days in the installation of 4.35 lakh connections against the stipulated time period of seven days.

Adequate efforts were not made in distributing the small 5-kg cylinders for encouraging usage.

“Encouraging the sustained usage of LPG remains a big challenge as the annual average refill consumption of 1.93 crore PMUY consumers (who have completed more than one year as on March 31, 2018) was only 3.66 refills as worked out by audit,” the CAG said.

For the 3.18 crore PMUY beneficiaries, as on December 31, 2018, refill consumption declined to 3.21 refills per annum.

The low consumption of refills by 92 lakh loanee consumers (who had completed one year or more as on 31 December 2018) hindered recovery of the outstanding loan of ₹1,234.71 crore.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 4:56:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ujjwala-scheme-cag-suspects-huge-diversion-of-cylinders-for-commercial-use/article30284942.ece

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