After LPG, Govt to roll out 'give up' subsidy plan for PDS
Buoyant over the successful implementation of "Give it Up" scheme for LPG refills, the government has decided to roll out the subsidy giving up plan for all government-funded schemes. Under the new proposal that has been sent to all concerned stakeholders, including states, the Centre has asked them to follow the 'Give Up' concept and encourage beneficiaries to opt out from getting subsidies.
As per the government's decision, the subsidy giving up design would be first implemented in public distribution system (PDS) on the lines LPG subsidy. According to a written reply by Minister of State for Consumer Affairs CR Chaudhary in Rajya Sabha, the government has decided to implement the give up concept in other government schemes too whenever any scheme or assistance is given to any beneficiary, real cost of service and subsidy/benefit given by the government.
According to a senior government official, the subsidy amount that would come to the exchequer by the giving up scheme would be used for providing foodgrains and other services to persons who need it most.
"As like LPG subsidy giving up scheme, the government would launch a major public campaign to motivate beneficiaries to opt out from subsidy benefits. Since, PDS is operated under the joint responsibility of the Centre and state governments, states have also been requested to follow the give up concept in PDS," the official said, adding that government is aiming to 'save' a handsome amount from this move.
However, no response has been received from any state/UT in this regard, Chaudhary said in reply to a question of Vijila Sathyananth in the Upper House on Friday.
According to sources, the give up concept would also be implemented for subsidies on fertilisers, education, etc. Under the subsidy opt out plan, the beneficiaries would not be 'directed' to give up their benefits rather they would be 'encouraged' as government belief that there are several beneficiaries who can 'voluntarily' offer to opt out from the subsidy bracket.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), which is an ambitious social welfare scheme of the Centre, is the outcome of 'Give it Up' initiative. Under the Ujjwala Yojana, the government is providing LPG connections to BPL households in the country.
Commenting on the government's decision, social activist Nikhil Dey said, "Instead of providing more benefits to weaker sections, the government is asking needy ones to leave benefits. The PDS benefits are being not availed by those who are economically sound as it's the poor population who need foodgrains at subsidised rates."
Recently, Uttar Pradesh's Muslim Waqf and Haj Minister Mohsin Raza has also vouched for giving up Haj subsidy. A few days after taking over the charge, Raza had said that it's the poor who deserve government subsidy for Haj pilgrimage, not the affluent Muslims.
The Centre provides subsidy to Muslim pilgrims to Mecca annually by reducing airfares in official carrier Air India and has a quota for different states.