After Jharkhand, six more states including Gujarat and Maharashtra have evinced interest to implement direct benefit transfer (DBT) in kerosene, Parliament was informed Tuesday. Last month, Jharkhand became the first state to roll out DBT in kerosene even as all states were asked to implement the same, the government said. “…State governments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Maharasthra, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh have indicated their willingness to implement DBT in kerosene,” Minister of State for Food, PDS and Consumer Affairs C R Chaudhary said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
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Under the DBT scheme, kerosene is sold to PDS beneficiary at non-subsidised rates and the applicable subsidy is directly transferred into their bank accounts, he said.
Replying to a query on government reducing allocation of PDS kerosene, the Minister said that the quota of PDS kerosene is “rationalised” based on various factors like increase in domestic LPG/PNG connections, non-lifting of PDS kerosene quota by concerned states among others.
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During 2015-16, 86,85,384 kilo litres were allocated to the states for distribution via public distribution system (PDS), he added.
Responding to a query on pilferage of PDS kerosene, the Minister said PDS kerosene is distributed to ration card holders through the state government and the state civil supplies authorities make arrangements.
However, the Centre has made a provision to ensure dealers selling PDS kerosene at a price fixed by the government or oil marketing companies along with prominently displaying that price, he said.
That apart, PDS kerosene is dyed blue to curb pilferage, with states also empowered to take actions against black marketeers, he added.
The minister further said that government has initiated DBT in kerosene to bring reforms in subsidy regime and ensure genuine ration card holders get the benefit, while preventing diversion.
Under the scheme, the states/UTs would be given cash incentive of 75 per cent of subsidy savings during the first two years, 50 per cent in the third year and 25 per cent in the fourth year.
In case, the states voluntarily agree to undertake cuts in kerosene allocation, beyond the savings due to DBT, a similar incentive would be given to those states/UTs.