At a time when the NDA government is cajoling the country’s affluent class to give up their LPG subsidies through the newly launched “give it up” slogan, Gujarat — the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi — is languishing at the bottom, among states, in implementing this scheme.
“Currently we have a very low number of people who have given up their LPG subsidies. Gujarat is currently among the bottom rung of states, as far as implementation of this scheme is concerned,” said S K Jain, general manager, Gujarat State Office of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOC) which is the largest supplier of LPG cylinders in the state.
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Till now only 5,226 IOC customers in Gujarat have given up their subsidies, ever since the scheme was launched along with the DBTL scheme (Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG) about an year ago. The company has 34.66 lakh of the total 63 lakh LPG customers in Gujarat.
“With all the LPG companies put together (BPCL and HPCL) there would be about 8,000 customers across Gujarat who would have surrendered their subsidies. This is very low considering the fact that over four lakh customers across the country have given up their subsidies. Gujarat has a large number of affluent families and we are targeting to take the state among the top five states this fiscal,” he said on Monday.
According to data of its customers shared by IOC, Uttar Pradesh tops all states with a maximum of 66,088 customers who choose to opt out of LPG subsidy; followed by Delhi (34,288) and Tamil Nadu (20,773). Even some of the smaller states like Haryana (10,443), Uttarakhand (10,045) and Bihar (16,745) have more customers surrendering their subsidies. Currently over 2.5 lakh customers of IOC have opted out of subsidy across India, thus saving about Rs 151 crore per year.
Officials of the IOC point out that the company will be implementing this scheme on a “mission mode” in the state. “Domestic LPG is heavily subsidised by the Government of India and every cylinder used in the kitchen carries a subsidy of about Rs 200,” said VK Verma, Deputy General Manager (LPG), IOC.
On Monday, a few local politicians, including the AMC (Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation) councillor of Saijpur-Bogha ward, Mahadev Desai, came forward to surrender their respective LPG connections. Dashrath Patel, the husband of Ahmedabad city mayor Meenakshi Patel was one among them.
Some of the corporates in Gujarat like Adani Group have issued formal circulars asking their employees to give up their subsidies. “A number of employees from the Adani Group have come forward to surrender their LPG subsidies in Ahmedabad. A couple of applications that came to me have been processed,” said an LPG gas distributor who did not wish to be named.