Cash transfer to 10% cooking gas users in Delhi, making LPG dealers unhappy
The oil ministry is transferring cash subsidy for cooking gas in bank accounts of more than 10% of all customers in Delhi and Mumbai.
With the launch of the sixth phase, almost half of the country is covered by this scheme. The Congress-led UPA government, with an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, has so far disbursed over Rs 2,000 crore to 66 million customers in 184 districts since the scheme was launched last June, officials said.
While this may please the ruling party as well as the finance ministry, the LPG dealers are unhappy. They say the new system is causing great inconvenience to customers and "overload" for distributors.
But oil industry executives say the dealers don’t like the situation where they will have no role in delivering cheap cooking gas, and would no longer have commercial customers angling to lift subsidised supply from them.
Dealers are planning an agitation against several issues including direct cash transfer. More than 10% of 4.8 million customers in the national capital and 13% of 2.4 million customers in Mumbai have already started getting cash subsidy in their bank accounts, government and industry officials said.
From Jan 1, consumers having Aadhaar numbers linked with gas agencies and banks will get cash subsidy of Rs 414 per cylinder in Delhi. As the consumer is entitled to nine cylinders in a year, his total entitlement in Delhi would be around Rs 3,726. Similarly, a Mumbai customer will get total cash subsidy of Rs 4,000 in a year at the rate of Rs 444.50 per cylinder, officials said. The biggest beneficiary of the scheme is Andhra Pradesh, where only five districts have cornered more than one fourth of the total subsidy disbursed in six months. The largest share of the pie is taken by Rangareddy with Rs 166.94-crore disbursement, followed by Hyderabad (Rs 163.55 crore), East Godavari (Rs 136.83 crore), Chittoor (Rs 84.65 crore) and Anantapur (Rs 70.5 crore), according to the oil ministry data.
The scheme, which is officially known as the direct benefit transfer for LPG or DBTL, now covers 9.5 crore cooking gas consumers in 291 districts. India has approximate 15 crore LPG consumers, oil ministry officials said.
"It is also highly significant as 34 additional districts will become fully market priced in addition to 20 districts earlier, where all domestic cylinders will be sold at market price," an oil ministry official said.
There are 2.3 crore consumers in these 54 districts, who roughly consume 16% of cooking gas, the official said. Oil ministry claimed that the exercise has been able to check diversion of subsidised cooking gas into commercial use. Oil marketing companies have already detected around 8 million illegal recipients of subsidy and blocked their connections, which is likely to save about Rs 2,500 crore per annum, officials said.