In line with the government’s ‘Digital India’ programme, state-run Bharat Petroleum Corporation plans to roll out a pan-India scheme within a month wherein citizens will be able to get an LPG connection on their doorstep.
According to two company executives and a government official, under the new scheme, delivery boys will act as agents of distributors. The scheme has already been tested in Mumbai.
“The moment a person gives a missed call to a specified number, the local distributor will call back the person and and a delivery person will visit the house,” said one of the executives, adding that the delivery boy will be equipped with a smartphone. The phone will be used to take a picture of the applicant, and the e-KYC process will be done through Aadhaar authentication using biometrics, and separately a picture of an address proof will be collected.
The executive added that the firm is awaiting authorisation from the Unique Identification Authority of India to use the identity for e-KYC.
The scheme will provide fillip to the NDA government’s Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) as LPG connections issued under the flagship scheme will be included. PMUY aims to provide clean source of cooking fuel to 5 crore women belonging to below poverty line households within three years starting May 2016. The first-year target of 1.5 crore connections has been surpassed within the first eight months. The LPG penetration in the country is around 72% at currently. At present, distributors send vehicles with laptops to various places for on-the-spot enrolment and release of equipment under PMUY.
According to the second executive, after the delivery agent captures the data and submits at the back-end, Aadhaar credentials will be used to ensure that the person doesn’t already have a connection. Once checked for de-duplication and autheticity, the applicant will receive the equipment such as cylinder, pipe, regulator and stove at their doorstep.
The second executive also said the firm is in discussions with the petroleum ministry to work out a fee. “We are still mulling if there should be any charge as we will need to incentivise the delivery agents,” the executive added.
The company’s initiative gels with the paperless system that oil marketing companies are adopting. At present 65 distributors of BPCL are live on the paperless initiative wherein LPG refill cylinders can be booked over phone or through text message.
BPCL sells its LPG cylinders under the brand Bharat Gas.