Three years on, not many willing to give up LPG subsidy

According to RTI data, of the total 27.98 crore consumers in India, only 1.03 crore have opted out; percentage low in TN too 
For representational purposes.  (File photo)
For representational purposes. (File photo)

CHENNAI: An initiative launched three years ago for voluntary surrender of subsidy for LPG domestic connections did not find many takers, according to a data obtained by Express through RTI revealed.
Of the total 27.98 crore LPG connections across India, only 1.03 crore consumers (3.69 per cent) opted out from subsidy as on May 31. Tamil Nadu has 2.14 crore connections of which 6.54 lakh households (3.01 percent) are buying  domestic LPG cylinders without subsidy. 

Among the States and Union Territories, Delhi topped with over 15.56 per cent giving up subsidy followed by Maharashtra with 5.72 per cent. “Of the 52.83 lakh consumers, 8.26 lakh of them have not accepted the subsidy.

Similarly, in Maharashtra, 16.52 lakh consumers gave up their subsidy out of 2.88 crore consumers,” the documents say. Every household can buy 12 cylinders per annum at subsidised rate and there is no limit for buying non-subsidised cylinders. For every domestic cylinder, a consumer receives Rs 180 to Rs 270 subsidy.

In States such as Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab and Rajasthan over 4.3 per cent consumers have given up their subsidy. In West Bengal, one of the largest States in the country, only 2.06 per cent are buying domestic cylinders at the actual price. Lack of willingness to give up subsidy on LPG cylinders is expected, say city-based consumer activists.

“A large number of consumers are not willing to give up their subsidy as cylinder is essential for every household. It is the duty of government to ensure people access every service easily to meet their demands. Essential services including transportation should be operated with the support of the government “ said S Mohan Ram, president, Consumer Protection Council, Thiruninravur.

He said a year ago, gas company numbers had got a provision to give up subsidy over phone. “Many consumers inadvertently selected the wrong options giving up their subsidies. They were forced to run from pillar to post to get their subsidy back. Those who change address are not getting their subsidy,” he said.

A senior official from BPCL said whenever consumer changes the address, he has to submit a new Know Your Customer (KYC) form to get the subsidy. “The subsidy may affect if there is any anomaly in Aadhaar and bank details. Those accounts which are not linked with Aadhaar will not be treated under subsidy give up scheme.”

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