Three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Give It Up’ campaign, only 0.35 per cent of the domestic LPG consumers have so far given up using subsidised cooking gas.
At a review meeting chaired by Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan last week, it was informed that just over 5.5 lakh out of the 15.3 crore LPG consumers have so far voluntarily surrendered subsidised LPG and started buying the cooking fuel at the market price, a top official said.
Though Pradhan since January has been pushing for well off people to surrender their LPG subsidy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March officially launched ‘Give It Up’ campaign so that the subsidy is better targeted for the needy.
The official said while an appeal has been made to all Members of Parliament (MPs) and MLAs, government officials and executives of public sector companies, the response has not been very enthusiastic.
“Not all MPs, that include those from the ruling party, have given up LPG subsidy. Response of MLAs has been poor,” he said.
Pradhan is pushing hard to make the campaign launched by Prime Minister a success. He even made personal phone calls to VIPs, requesting them to give up buying subsidised LPG.
Keen to ensure that the subsidised fuel reaches only those needing it, he surrendered his subsidised LPG connection soon after becoming a minister and has since then been buying gas at market rates.
On his plea, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and several other ministers as well chief ministers like Akhilesh Yadav of Uttar Pradesh have given up subsidised LPG but the campaign has not had the desired success, he said.
Consumers are currently entitled to twelve 14.2 kg cylinders or thirty four 5 kg bottles in a year at subsidised rates.
A subsidised 14.2 kg cylinder is currently available at Rs 417 per bottle in Delhi while the 5 kg pack costs Rs 155.
Market priced LPG is available at Rs 625.50 per 14.2 kg cylinder and Rs 220 per 5 kg bottle.
Giving up subsidised LPG will help cut government’s subsidy bill which was at Rs 36,580 crore on the fuel last fiscal year.
In 2015-16 Budget estimates, petroleum subsidy has been halved to Rs 30,000 crore from estimated Rs 60,270 crore, in the current fiscal.
Of Rs 30,000 crore for next fiscal, Rs 22,000 crore has been earmarked for LPG subsidy and the rest is for kerosene.
Public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) have given an option to existing LPG consumers to convert their existing domestic LPG connection into a non-subsidised domestic connection. This can be done by submitting a written request to the distributor or electronically via www.MyLPG.in.