• LPG subsidy surrender valid for only one year: Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

    More than 10 million consumers who have voluntarily given up their cooking gas subsidy have the option to switch back to subsidized cylinders after a year, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said. 11.3 million households have given up cooking gas subsidy so far across the country in response to the government call to well-off citizens to surrender their share of subsidy. India has a total of 202.1 million cooking gas consumers.

    A massive media campaign by the government and an oil collapse that has depressed cooking gas prices and squeezed subsidy have aided consumer decision to dump subsidy. The subsidy, which varies from state to state, is just about Rs 90 on a 14.2 kg cooking gas cylinder in Delhi today, a reflection of the two-thirds drop in oil prices in two years. But if the oil prices, currently around $45 per barrel, were to climb back to the mighty heights seen a few years ago, buying a non-subsidised cylinder might start hurting consumers as commodity spike is often accompanied by a general inflation in the economy.

    Pradhan said consumers who have given up subsidy can again ask for it as the voluntary surrender by them is valid only for a year. This means if a consumer changes his mind and wants his cooking gas subsidy back, he can do so after a year of giving up. But if a consumer doesn’t make any such request, the government will assume that he doesn’t need subsidy even the next year. Nearly half of those who gave up cooking gas subsidy came from Maharshtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

    The government’s plan to introduce direct cash transfer for kerosene consumers has been delayed as states have sought more time for the roll-out, Pradhan said. The plan to transfer cash in the bank accounts of kerosene consumers, as has been done for cooking gas consumers, was slated to begin from April 1. But complication in sorting the consumer database is delaying the project. James Develin Authentic Jersey

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