Govt kills two reforms: raises LPG cap, snaps its Aadhaar link

12 cylinders: 89.2% use only 9 a year; Rahul’s wish will cost Rs 5,000 crore.

New Delhi | Published:January 31, 2014 1:37 am
12 cylinders: 89.2% use only 9 a year; Rahul’s wish will cost Rs 5,000 crore. 12 cylinders: 89.2% use only 9 a year; Rahul’s wish will cost Rs 5,000 crore.

THE CABINET Committee on Political Affairs Thursday granted Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s wish and raised the annual cap for subsidised cylinders to 12 from nine, undoing the reformist move to restrict LPG subsidy to deserving families with an eye on elections.

The decision ensures subsidised cylinders for 97 per cent of the consumers and will increase the subsidy burden by Rs 5,000 crore.

The ceiling of nine cylinders took care of the annual consumption of 89.2 per cent of the total 15-crore LPG consumers and only the rest had to buy additional cylinders at market price.

Although the CCPA, prodded by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, agreed to restrict supplies to one cylinder per month to each consumer, sources said this constraint would also be removed as Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily later told the Prime Minister that the restriction would amount to rationing.

However, in a setback to a scheme Rahul had touted as a “game changer”, the government put on hold direct transfer of LPG subsidy to the consumer’s Aadhaar-linked bank account. The issue will now be evaluated by a committee.

This decision was taken following arguments by Defence Minister A K Antony that field trials had shown that the scheme may not be working well as there were families that did not have an Aadhaar card or were unable to open a bank account.

Moily said the direct benefit transfer for LPG (DBTL) scheme, where consumers in 289 districts in 18 states were to get cash in their bank accounts to buy cooking gas at market rates, had invited many consumer complaints.

Although the scheme presently transfers the subsidy to all Aadhaar card-holders, its aim was to eventually provide subsidy only to deserving consumers.

Expecting the objective to be followed through, an expert panel headed by Kirit Parikh had in October recommended that the cap on subsidised cylinders be reduced to six and the DBTL scheme be restricted to identified families based on an “exclusion criteria” within the next one year.

Moily said that following the CCPA decision, each household will get one extra cylinder in February and March and from the next fiscal year beginning April, they will be entitled to 12 cylinders.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari conceded that Rahul’s suggestion about raising the LPG cap had been heeded while taking the decision but it is “not linked to the polls”.

Neither is the decision to temporarily suspend the direct transfer of subsidy a fallout of the Aadhaar project landing in the Supreme Court, he added.

“Rahul Gandhi is a public representative. If he says something we take it very seriously. But the decision to hike the LPG cap or to temporarily suspend direct transfer of subsidy is not linked to the polls in any way. Neither is the decision to re-evaluate transfer of LPG subsidy any indication of the fate of the broader Aadhaar-based DBT paradigm,” Tewari said.

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  1. A
    Aditya Gandhi
    Jan 31, 2014 at 5:54 am
    Reducing economic burden on people is not 'killing reforms'!
    Reply
    1. A
      Animesh Roy
      Jan 31, 2014 at 6:36 am
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      Reply
      1. A
        Aarti Khan
        Jan 31, 2014 at 5:36 am
        Congress party used to kill the reforms which not benefits to common people of India, party always work hard for us.
        Reply
        1. P
          Pulkit Gupta
          Jan 31, 2014 at 5:53 am
          Rahul hi requested to PM for 12 gas cylinder per year in AICC meeting, so Middle cl and lower cl should give their thank to him
          Reply
          1. D
            Diksha Singh
            Jan 31, 2014 at 5:38 am
            In the subsidy distribution people facing problems so government kills it, Aadhar Link based subsidy was wastage of time.
            Reply
            1. M
              M S
              Jan 31, 2014 at 5:06 am
              say whatever they may, the corrupt congress and Rahul / Sonia want to get votes. Hence the increase from 9 to 12.
              Reply
              1. K
                Kunal Vaidya
                Jan 31, 2014 at 5:58 am
                Helping common man is not called killing reforms...it will be wrong to give such arguments!
                Reply
                1. M
                  Manali bhandari
                  Jan 31, 2014 at 6:31 am
                  Now, no one can complain that 12 cylindres per year per household are not enough for any family.
                  Reply
                  1. M
                    Manali bhandari
                    Jan 31, 2014 at 7:42 am
                    This decision will benifit almost 99 crore potion, the additional burden of sbsidy amounting Rs 5ooo crore annually is not much.
                    Reply
                    1. M
                      Maninder Dhawan
                      Jan 31, 2014 at 5:57 am
                      Rahul hi has asked for a people centric decision and it has happened...then what's wrong?
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        mathew
                        Jan 31, 2014 at 7:14 am
                        Rahul step and request to the PM for the increase in subsidised cylender is no where wrong the people are not in a habbit of it sooner or later it will surely help them....
                        Reply
                        1. M
                          mukul
                          Jan 31, 2014 at 7:13 am
                          there is nothing wrong in this step if it is not helping normal people there is no need to shut the reform.....someday it will benefit.....because it is done by the people only not by Govt. this was people wishh....
                          Reply
                          1. R
                            Rachit gupta
                            Jan 31, 2014 at 7:33 am
                            If government would have foreseen public out cry on this matter, in very first place September 2012 decision wouldn't have been taken at all.
                            Reply
                            1. R
                              Rachit gupta
                              Jan 31, 2014 at 7:03 am
                              If reforms do not help common man then there is nothing wrong in killing them.
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Sumit Andrews
                                Jan 31, 2014 at 5:52 am
                                Government has not killed reforms,it has unveiled two reforms: raising the LPG cap from 9 to 12 and thereby increasing the number of people who benefit by it!
                                Reply
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