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Massive duplication in Centre’s PAHAL scheme: National Auditor’s report

The CAG’s much-awaited audit report on implementation of PAHAL (DBTL) scheme by oil marketing companies, which is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament on Friday, has red-flagged several lapses in the scheme.

According to a source, the audit report has found that a  large of number of beneficiaries under PAHAL scheme are duplicate as multiple connections have been issued by using same Aadhaar number. “Given that Aadhaar number is being used to put a check on duplication, but in PAHAL, the unique identity number is being used to get multiple connections. When number of duplicate users is in plenty, then the government claims of huge savings rings hollow,” said a source who has gone through the findings of the report.

“ The report also goes on to say that duplicate connections were issued on same addresses. The number of consumers availing 12 subsidized cylinders doubled in first six months in 2015-16 in comparison to 2014-15,” the source said, adding that most of consumers having lesser usage ‘sold’ their remaining share in the open market through cylinder delivery agents.

According to the source, the audit report has also uncovered substantial systemic problems with the scheme, including diversion of domestic subsidy for commercial use and LPG meant for commercial consumption being diverted to domestic use.

According to the website of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas there are 15.89 crore beneficiaries  registered under the PAHAL scheme and government has paid in cash to the tune of Rs 40,974.93 crore to registered users. The website also mentions that 1,04,35,456 consumers voluntarily gave up their subsidies.

The audit report has found that the savings from people voluntarily giving up their LPG subsidy and direct bank transfers adds up to less than Rs 2,000 crore, while the remaining saving is actually due to dramatic fall in LPG prices that benefited the government. Other reports to be tabled in Parliament on Friday include performance audit report on voluntary compliance encouragement scheme, 2013 (Union govt-indirect taxes-service tax), performance audit report on Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna-Civil, compliance audit report on Union Territories without legislatures, compliance audit report on administrative functioning of autonomous bodies under Science and Technology Department and compliance report on FRBM Act, 2003.
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