New Delhi, Jan 11: In a unique drive, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan ismaking personal calls to one prominent person every day to request them to give up buying subsidised cooking gas (LPG).
Keen to ensure that the subsidised fuel reaches only those who need it, Mr Pradhan surrendered his subsidised LPG connection soon after becoming a minister and has since then been buying gas at market rate.
On Mr Pradhan's plea, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has given up subsidised LPG and today Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi also voluntarily did the same. Power Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted that he too has given up subsidised LPG.
"I am of the belief that the rich and affluent people who can afford to buy market price LPG, should voluntarily give up subsidised connection," Mr Pradhan said.
"I am personally calling up one VIP every day to request them to surrender subsidised LPG. Today, I called up Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to urge him to do the same," 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 government's subsidy bill which was Rs. 46,458 crore on the fuel last fiscal.
Public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) have given an option to existing LPG consumers to convert their existing domestic LPG connection into a non-subsidised domestic connection. This can be done by submitting a written request to the distributor or electronically via www.MyLPG.in.
For those buying subsidised LPG, Mr 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 percent of the users to 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 said.