Modi government has set a target to provide 5 crore free cooking gas connections to the below-poverty-line families over the next three years, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi.
Aided in large measure by the savings from the weeding out of 20% or 3.3 crore subsidised house-hold LPG connections through the direct benefit transfer scheme and 1.13 crore households surrendering the subsidy under the “Give It Up” campaign, the Modi government has set a target to provide 5 crore free cooking gas connections to the below-poverty-line families over the next three years, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi.
The cost of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana — to be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh on May 1 — is estimated at R8,000 crore, while the savings from the Give-it-Up drive is seen at R5,000 crore.
“Since the launch (on March 27 last year), 1.13 crore people have given up LPG subsidies and are buying cooking gas at market price,” oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
He added that five states — Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu — accounted for roughly half the people who have given up the LPG subsidy.
As of January 1, 2015, when PAHAL or the direct benefit transfer scheme for LPG went pan-India, the number of registered LPG consumers stood at 18.9 crore. Thanks to the scheme that restricted LPG refills to 12 a year and led to transfer of the subsidy directly to the bank accounts of intended beneficiaries, the number fell to 14.85 crore by April 1 last year, but it has since swelled to 16.35 crore partly because commercial users of LNG, a fraction of which used to be disguised as household consumers, have come clean.
Maharashtra tops the list with 16.44 lakh households giving up subsidies. Uttar Pradesh saw nearly 13 lakh users give up subsidies and 7.26 lakh households in Delhi surrendered the subsidies. The PM’s home state Gujarat was, however, way down on the list with just 4.2 lakh giving up subsidies. Pradhan’s home state of Odisha was even lower at 1.3 lakh.
The DBT scheme, Give-it-Up campaign and the fall in crude oil prices led to a substantial fall in the Centre’s LPG subsidy bill in recent years.
A subsidised 14.2-kg LPG bottle is now available at Rs 419.13 in Delhi while the market price is Rs 509.50.