Millennium Post

Direct LPG subsidy transfer to users from Jan: Pradhan

Beginning new year, LPG consumers across the country will start getting cash subsidy so that they can buy the cooking fuel at market price. In preparation of the launch of the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme for LPG, which has now been renamed PAHAL, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan reviewed the progress, right from getting a first hand feel of the consumer interface through a newly launched website to calling up aggrieved consumer himself to understand problems being faced.

The ambitious plan, launched by the previous UPA government in June 2013 but abruptly stopped earlier this year following court orders, has been modified to exclude the requirement of unique identification number (Aadhaar) for availing the cash subsidy. The scheme has been rolled out in 54 districts from November 15 and will extend to rest of the country from January 1.

At the review meeting with top ministry officials and officers of the three oil marketing companies, he instructed launching of Hindi and regional languages versions of "We need to get the work done on war-footing," he said at the review. Besides making suggestions on user interface, Pradhan on his mobile phone dialled one Dhillon of Ludhiana who had complained on ministry website of not receiving cash subsidy. He then went on to check booking and delivery status as well as cash transfer in random cases. PAHAL or Pratyaksh Hanstantarit Labh will be implemented in all districts from January 1, he said.

Under the scheme, LPG consumers will get cash subsidy in their bank accounts so they can buy a cooking gas cylinder at market price. Cash equivalent to the difference between the current subsidised rate and the market price is transferred to the bank account of a consumer the moment he or she makes the first booking for a cylinder after joining the scheme. The moment a consumer takes delivery of the cylinder, another advance cash subsidy is transferred to the bank account. DBT (direct benefit transfer) is designed to ensure that the subsidy meant for the genuine domestic customer reaches them directly and is not diverted. The government is looking at saving Rs 10,000 crore in subsidy by curbing diversions and pilferages.

In 54 districts covering 11 states, the scheme covers 2.33 crore households. Currently, the Aadhaar generation level is 95 per cent in these districts. Under the scheme, consumers will now receive SMS at every stage of enrollment in the scheme. Pradhan also informed Lok Sabha that Aadhaar number was not mandatory for transfer of subsidy amount of LPG cylinder and the option of providing a bank account is also available under the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG (DBTL).
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