This year, two lakh consumers gave up their LPG subsidy in Pune district, up from 4,000 a year ago. For an individual, giving up the subsidy means paying at least Rs 200 more, which could benefit more poor people, say officials from the oil ministry. In Pune district, there are as many as 16 lakh consumers in the city and 8 lakh consumers in rural areas.
Officials from the food distribution office say that over a period, there has been a gradual response to give up on the subsidy. At present, all households are entitled to 12 cylinders of 14.2 kg each at subsidised rate of Rs 419.26, while the market price of each cylinder is Rs 608. In the assessment year 2014-15, a total of 20.26 lakh assesses were reported as having a taxable income above Rs 10 lakh, according to the Central Board of Direct Taxes.
The latest move as issued by the Union Petroleum Ministry said, “The government has decided that the benefit of the LPG subsidy will not be available for LPG consumers if the consumer or his/her spouse had taxable income of more than Rs 10 lakh during the previous financial year computed as per the Income Tax Act, 1961.” However, this is only slowly picking up as citizens have to yet adhere to this norm, officials stated.
“Those who give up their subsidy inform the LPG agency and a message is send accordingly,” said the official. The Pune officials maintained that people who are giving up their subsidy are mainly from middle and lower classes. According to the government, the main aim is to persuade more people to give up cooking fuel subsidy as part of a nationwide campaign to make the fuel affordable for the poor and make rural kitchens smokeless.
According to statistics given by the Oil and Petroleum ministry, till the first week of March, a total of 8.5 million had voluntarily given up their subsidy. The ministry had taken a sample size of 100,000 people for the survey and found that among them only three per cent had an annual income above Rs 10 lakh.