Moily obliges Rahul: gas quota to be hiked to 12 cylinders

Promptly after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said in a speech on Friday that nine subsidised gas cylinders per household was not enough and the quota should be raised to 12 a year, petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily said this would be done.

''Yes, the cap will be increased to 12,'' Moily said soon after Gandhi made a public demand to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his speech at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) session in New Delhi.

''Prime Minster, nine cylinders are not enough. We need 12,'' Rahul told Singh in Hindi.

Moily, who till last week had maintained that there was no proposal for raising the quota of subsidised LPG cylinders as few households used more than nine a year, said the decision would be announced after approval from the union cabinet.

Petroleum ministry officials said they will move a proposal for the consideration of the cabinet committee on economic affairs or cabinet committee on political affairs after Moily instructs them to do so.

Moily had recently said that 89.2 per cent of the country's 15 crore LPG consumers use up to nine cylinders in a year and only 10 per cent have to buy more at market prices. If the quota is raised to 12, about 97 per cent of the LPG consumers would be covered by subsidised LPG, he had said.

Increasing the limit to 12 would result in an additional fuel subsidy burden of Rs3,300-5,800 crore for the government, officials said. With a view to cutting its subsidy bill, the government had initially capped the supply of subsidised domestic LPG cylinders to six per household in a year in September 2012, and increased it to nine in January next year under political pressure.