New Delhi: Consumers are already exasperated following the recent decision of the government to cap the number of subsidised LPG cylinders. To add to the woes of the consumer families above poverty line, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is pressing for complete withdrawal of subsidy on LPG cylinders.

The sources say that if the ministry’s plan allowed to go through, it is most likely that by mid-next year, the families above poverty line would be completely deprived of subsidy on LPG cylinders which has been confined to only six cylinders a year.

The sources also add that the ministry has already started to collect data regarding LPG consumer families. It will also take help of the income tax department to ascertain the income slab of the families. The mode of giving subsidy to the families could also be changed. After ascertaining the income of the consumer families, the government may directly transfer money meant for subsidy in the bank accounts of eligible consumers. This means, in the second phase of subsidy cut, even the BPL families will also have to purchase the cylinders on market price and the government will compensate them by transferring a certain amount in their bank accounts.

Government is collecting data to ascertain the number of BPL families in the country which have LPG connections. Notably, the finance minister and the Planning Commission of India have agreed to go with the proposal of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas on complete withdrawal of subsidy on LPG cylinders.

Petroleum Ministry has estimated that the subsidy presently being given on LPG cylinders costs Rs 30,000 crore per year to the exchequer. While after the decision, which is likely to be taken next year, to confine it to only BPL families will reduce the subsidy burden to Rs 8000 a year.

According to recent decision by the Centre, the number of subsidised LPG cylinders has been capped to only six per year for each family. Subsidized cylinders presently cost Rs 400 whereas non-subsidised cylinders cost Rs 750.

Government’s data suggests that 23 percent families consume 12 LPG cylinders a year, whereas 44 percent families consume four to six cylinders a year.


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