The Modi government's policy to save the subsidy on LPG , by transferring cash benefits directly to the accounts of consumers and urging affluent sections of society to give up subsidised cooking gas so that the poor can get it, has got off the ground.
Dumka in Jharkhand has become the first place where 5,000 households from the BPL category were handed over LPG connections by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2.
This has come months after the prime minister requested people to give up their LPG subsidy , saying, "I urge government officers and professionals of the country to give up their LPG subscription. It will help many mothers and households of our country."
The prime minister had appealed to the better-off sections of society to voluntarily give up their LPG subsidies on the day of 'Urja Sangam' on March 27, 2015. He had promised that the subsidy savings would be utilised "to give back LPG connections to poor families."
The move has borne fruit as evidenced by the latest figures which show that as many as 30 lakh people have already given up their LPG subsidies in such a short time.
Under this 'Give Back' scheme, the central government has contributed Rs 1,600 per LPG connection to BPL households while the government of Jharkhand has contributed Rs 918.50 per household connection.
The Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, who has played a key role in pushing the scheme, also accompanied the prime minister on the October 2 occasion.
Terming it as an innovative way of governance, Pradhan said, "Middle class people are joining in. Rich people should give up for the poor man of the country, this would be a great cause for nation building." With the LPG gas subsidy under direct cash benefit transfer through the Jan Dhan Yojana and Aadhar cards, the government has been able to weed out middlemen and black marketers.
The country has also managed to save Rs 15,000 crore of the annual subsidy outgo on cooking gas with the rollout of the Direct Benefit Transfer in Liquefied Petroleum Gas (DBTL) scheme, the prime minister had earlier disclosed in his Independence Day address.
The enrolment of beneficiaries under the modified DBTL scheme has stopped at 139.2 million people, oil ministry data shows. This translates into annual subsidy savings for the government to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore at the current prices that was linked to the rest at around 40 million customers. These include mostly fake accounts and people who have voluntarily surrendered subsidy or lack bank accounts.