Relaunch of LPG Subsidy Scheme May Hit Consumers

Published: 13th November 2014 06:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th November 2014 06:02 AM   |  A+A-

KOCHI: As the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG subsidy is being re-launched in Kerala from November 15, it seems the project is unlikely to have a smooth sailing in the state. This is mainly due to the confusion prevailing in linking Aadhaar number with LPG connection and bank account of consumers. Officially, out of the 73 lakh LPG consumers in the state, around 65 per cent have completed formalities for availing of the subsidy through bank accounts. It simply means roughly over 20 lakh people in Kerala may face trouble once the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG subsidy scheme starts rolling from November 15.

Adding fuel to the crisis, gas agencies have already started pulling the legs of customers demanding immediate linking of LPG connection with bank account.

“I have booked for the LPG cylinder during September. Till date the cylinder has not been delivered to me. When I contacted the gas agency, they asked me to link the connection with the bank account. Due to the re-launch of the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, the cylinder delivery is likely to take place only after November 15, it seems,” said Suhara Beevi, a native of Mattanchery.

Though there will be a grace period of three months to link the Aadhaar number with LPG connection and bank account, there likely to be a confusion in this regard. “As per the data available with us 93 per cent of the people in the state have got Aadhaar cards and many of them do have bank accounts as well. Though Aadhaar card is not mandatory to avail the benefit of LPG subsidy, the customers have to produce either Aadhaar card or bank account details to LPG distributors to get the subsidy. If not they will have to give the non-subsidised rate for a LPG cylinder,” said T Satish Kumar, Deputy General Manager (LPG), Indian Oil Corporation.

K R Jayaprakash, Lead Bank District Manager, Ernakulam, said that Aadhaar will be made mandatory to avail of the benefits of the schemes of Central or state governments, sooner or later.  “In case of LPG subsidy, Aadhaar card is beneficial for the oil companies to avoid duplication in subsidy disbursement as a single customer may have multiple bank accounts,” he added.

It is learnt that Kerala is likely to attain almost full compliance in Aadhaar by March 2015 as the state government plans aggressive campaign.

“At present Aadhaar enrolment is a bit slow in the state. Now 93 per cent of the people in Kerala have Aadhaar cards. Out of the remaining people, eight per cent will be children,” said Noushad P, Kerala State Resource Personnel, UIDAI.

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