Does India’s affluent class including top industrialists, rich businessmen, leading politicians, ministers and bureaucrats really need LPG subsidy support of Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 4,500 a year to run their kitchens?
The three state-owned oil companies — Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum — as part of their month-old campaign asking consumers to surrender multiple LPG connections, are calling on those who can afford to pay the market price for LPG to voluntarily surrender their subsidised LPG connections.
The idea is to replicate what happened some years back, when people who could afford it stopped buying food grains from the public distribution system despite holding ration cards.
A 14.2-kg LPG cylinder costs Rs. 410.50 in Delhi; its market price is Rs. 895.50.
Needless to add, results so far have not been encouraging. The oil companies are for now focussing on the December 31 deadline to check multiple subsidised LPG connections and filling of the “know your customer” (KYC) forms. Once this passes, they said, they will aggressively re-launch the drive for voluntary surrender of subsidised LPG connections.
“After the government capping the number of subsidised LPG cylinders to six a year, which may now go upto nine, the total benefit accruing per family will be Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 4,500 a year,” said a senior IOC official.
“Most of us do not need subsidy and we all need to be part of this effort,” he said.
Oil companies officials said they expect ministers, members of Parliament, bureaucrats and the senior management of public sector companies to give up subsidised LPG voluntarily. Taking the cue, they said that other sections like corporate honchos and businessmen who can afford market price would then also be asked to give up subsidised LPG.
“Subsidised domestic LPG is meant only for the poor and the needy and the rich should take the initiative voluntarily to give up subsidised LPG,” a senior Congress minister had said before the scheme was launched. However, HT checked with the oil company and found that the minister himself is yet to surrender his quota of subsidised LPG cylinders.