LPG distributorship for SC/ST category: Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra tops laggards’ list

Published: February 9, 2017 6:00 AM

The data was submitted by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas against a Lok Sabha question on February 6.

LPG, Below Poverty Line, PMUY, petroleum ministry, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Prime Minister, Uttar Pradesh, Narendra ModiFE had earlier reported that of these beneficiaries, the top five states comprised 75% of the SC beneficiaries. (PTI)

While Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of pending letters of intent (LoIs) submitted by applicants belonging to the scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) category for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distributorship, at 262, Maharashtra, at 125, tops the list of states and Union territories with pending LoIs for fuel retail outlets. The data was submitted by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas against a Lok Sabha question on February 6.

This comes at a time when President Pranab Mukherjee in his remark at the start of Parliament’s Budget session on January 31 stated around 37% of the beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) belong to the SC and ST category. FE had earlier reported that of these beneficiaries, the top five states comprised 75% of the SC beneficiaries. These states include Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu.

The top three states with the maximum number of beneficiaries belonging to the ST category, of the total recipients, are Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

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Stating the reason for pending LoIs, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, in a written reply, said though efforts are made to expedite the process of selection, issues such as complaint and references, court cases, applicants getting rejected during scrutiny, rejection during field verification of credentials (FVC), among others, often delay the process.

Once the candidate gets rejected during FVC, then redraw has to be conducted. The process goes on till all eligible candidates for draw are exhausted,” added Pradhan.

PMUY is a scheme to provide free LPG connections to women belonging to the below the poverty line category to provide access to clean and healthy medium of cooking. The government surpassed its annual target for releasing 1.5 crore connections within eight months of announcing the scheme in May 2016. It has allocated R2,500 crore as budgetary support for the scheme for financial year 2017-18 compared with R2,000 in the previous year.

The success of the scheme critically depends on the LPG distributor network though. The country has roughly around 18,100 distributors now.

As reported by FE earlier, 500 new distributors were appointed in the current financial year and an additional 1,000 LoIs have been approved. Also, 56 additional new distributorship have been approved for state-owned agencies — 50 in Chhattisgarh and 6 in Andhra Pradesh — on a nomination basis which will operate in difficult terrains.

However, the government had targeted to issue licences to 10,000 distributors in the current financial year which it has not been able to achieve.

– Saurabh Kumar

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