Greater Noida (UP), Jan 11: After Union Ministers, state Chief Ministers have also started giving up the use of subsidised cooking gas (LPG) to help better target subsidies for those actually deserving.
In a unique initiative, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is calling up one VIP everyday across the country to request them to give up buying subsidised cooking gas (LPG).
"Today, Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Jharkhand have voluntarily surrendered their subsidised LPG connection," he said on the sidelines of Geo India 2015 conference here.
Keen to ensure that the subsidised fuel reaches only those needing it, Pradhan surrendered his subsidised LPG connection soon after becoming a minister and has since then been buying gas at market rate.
On Pradhan's plea, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has given up subsidised LPG and yesterday Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and Power Minister Piyush Goyal too voluntarily did the same.
"Rich and affluent people who can afford to buy market price LPG should voluntarily give up subsidised connection," he said. Several politicians and bureaucrats have already given up using subsidised LPG. On Saturday, Pradhan had called up Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to urge him to do the same. "He too will follow suit soon," he said.
Consumers are currently entitled to twelve 14.2-kg cylinders or 34 five-kg bottles in a year at subsidised rates. A subsidised 14.2-kg cylinder is currently available at Rs 417 per bottle in Delhi and the 5-kg pack costs Rs 155.
Market priced LPG is available at Rs 708.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder and Rs 351 per 5-kg bottle. Giving up subsidised LPG will help cut the government's subsidy bill on the fuel which was Rs 46,458 crore last fiscal.
Public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) have given an option to existing LPG consumers to convert their domestic LPG connection into a non-subsidised one. This can be done by submitting a written request to the distributor or electronically via www.MyLPG.in.
For those buying subsidised LPG, Pradhan is also pushing for subsidy to be paid directly in their bank accounts to help prevent diversions.
"We have received tremendous response since the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme for LPG (now renamed PAHAL) was relaunched on November 15. So far, 7.63 crore consumers out of total LPG users of 15.5 crore have joined the scheme. We are adding one per cent of the users to the scheme daily," he said.
Domestic LPG users will get Rs 568 in the bank account the moment they join the DBTL. They will have to use this money to buy 14.2-kg refill at the market price. "Our target is to cover 70-75 per cent of the population in next two months," he added.