Though the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) took credit for the state government’s decision to give three more subsidised cooking gas cylinders to the economically weaker sections, it will take some time for the scheme to come into effect.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Wednesday that the government would need at least three months to implement the decision. He said the increase of 7% in employees’ dearness allowance would consume a lot of money from the state’s coffers.
The NCP had threatened to take to streets if Chavan failed in taking the decision in a week’s time. The party had demanded subsidy for all, though the CM wanted it for weaker sections.
“Despite state NCP’s threat, the CM prevailed because he was able to convince NCP president Sharad Pawar on the state’s bad financial condition. Both agreed that only the needy should get such subsidy,” said a leader, requesting anonymity.
Chavan got the Cabinet to approve the decision in-principle though the departments concerned did not have the data on the number of beneficiaries.
The CM dismissed fears that many people would not benefit from the decision. “The state’s health scheme too has similar income cap for beneficiaries and it has got a tremendous response. I expect this decision to benefit as many consumers,” he said.
The CM said the administration would have to collect data on below poverty line (BPL) and above poverty line (APL) people from among the 1.70 crore gas connections. However, the consumers would have to fill forms and submitting ration cards to their respective dealers.