Direct cash transfer of LPG subsidy launched in 18 districts

The union government, as part of its programme for direct cash transfer of subsidies to beneficiaries, has started transferring an amount of Rs435 each directly in the bank accounts of LPG (cooking gas) consumers in 18 districts of the country from today.

Petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily launched the scheme in Tumkur in his home state of Karnataka, while minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Lakshmi Panabaka simultaneously kicked off the scheme in Hyderabad, the capital of her home state Andhra Pradesh.

The scheme was to be rolled out in 20 districts initially but the launch in Mysore in Karnataka and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh has been put off by a month due to assembly and parliamentary by-elections, officials said.

Under the scheme, LPG consumers will get the money in their bank accounts every time they book an LPG refill. They will then have to pay the market price per cylinder.

The government intends to extend the scheme to rest of the country before the end of the year.

The districts selected for initial launch have high penetration of the unique Aadhaar identification number.

As many as 89 per cent of the LPG consuming population in these districts have Aadhaar cards, and the government will give a three-month grace period to the rest to procure the unique ID number and seed it with their bank accounts.

After three months, that is from 1 September, only consumers having Aadhaar and bank accounts linked to them will get cash subsidy and the rest will have to buy LPG at market price.

Speaking at the launch of DBT for LPG consumers in Andhra Pradesh, Panabaka Lakshmi said the use of commercial LPG cylinders increased by 16 per cent due to reduction in diversion of domestic gas.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy launched the DBT scheme in the five districts of Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, East Godavari, Chittoor and Anantapuram today.

The total number of LPG consumers in these five pilot districts is 48.82 lakh but only 17.7 per cent of them have been linked to Aadhar.

The government anticipates saving Rs8,000-10,000 crore in LPG subsidy annually after the scheme is rolled out all over the country.