NEW DELHI: The government has no plans to curtail supply of subsidised cooking gas (LPG) from current 12 cylinders per household in a year even as it looks to give cash subsidy to consumers across the country by June.
"There is absolutely no proposal to reduce subsidised LPG quota (per household)," Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in an interview here.
In August, the Narendra Modi-led government gave consumers the freedom to avail their quota of 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg weight at subsidised rate during anytime of the year against the previous restriction of one per month.
Pradhan said the Cabinet had on Saturday modified the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme for LPG to provide for cash subsidy equivalent to the difference between the current rate and the market price, in bank accounts of each consumer.
But unlike the scheme launched during the previous UPA government, having an Aadhaar card for getting the cash subsidy is not mandatory, he said.
Currently, the modified DBTL is being launched in 54 districts and from January 1 it will be rolled out in all the remaining districts of the country, he said.
"We hope to extend the coverage to all the districts in three months and enroll majority of the consumers in another three months. So you can say by June, majority of the LPG consumers will be covered," he said.
LPG consumers who have opened accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana too would benefit from the revised scheme. Over 6 crore such accounts have been opened so far and 4 crore more are being targetted by the year end to provide for at least one bank account per household.
Currently, bank accounts of LPG consumers are being seeded with their cooking gas numbers. Once that is done, cash subsidy will be transfered into the bank accounts so that the consumers can buy the LPG refills at market rates. Presently, 12 cylinders are available to consumers at a subsidised rate of Rs 414 each in Delhi. Any requirement beyond this will have to be purchased at market price of Rs 880 per 14.2-kg cylinder.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the Modi government stands for protecting the interests of poor and at the same time it will ease conditions for doing business in the country.
"Reforms and being pro-poor are not oxymorons. Being pro-poor does not mean that reforms will stop. Both the things can go together," he said.
The previous UPA government had linked DBT for LPG to the Aadhaar platform. But there were some legal issues, including some court orders, that prevented implementation of the scheme.
So, the new government has decided that in addition to the Aadhaar platform, all those who have a bank account will also get the LPG subsidy in their accounts directly.
He said the scheme will be implemented in a mission mode. There will be no consumer who will be denied LPG for want of Aadhaar number.
Pradhan said the government is working on fixing the amount of subsidy to be given under DBTL.