To check the growing menace of diversion and use of kerosene for adulteration — that recently resulted in the brazen killing of additional collector Yashwant Sonawane — the government is planning to reduce the quota of kerosene sold through the public distribution system (PDS) to states.
As nearly 40% of PDS kerosene gets diverted and does not reach the beneficiary, it is felt that the only way the problem of adulteration and diversion can be checked is by reducing the quota to states.
A senior official of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) said this is also being done in view of the reduced demand of kerosene following expansion and increase in LPG connections.
“The petroleum ministry has taken a decision to reduce kerosene quota in proportion to corresponding increase in LPG connections during the current financial year.”
The same, he said, was also discussed at a recent meeting with the members of the task force headed by Nandan Nilekani on direct transfer of subsidy. The PDS kerosene quota is released on monthly basis and its distribution is done by respective state governments against ration cards, the record of which is maintained by the states.
On the issue of direct transfer of subsidies, officials said the petroleum ministry has suggested to the task force that since kerosene is distributed by the state governments, the cash equivalent to subsidy (on the quantity of PDS kerosene lifted by state governments) be passed on by the Centre and the supplies of PDS kerosene by the oil marketing companies to the state government will be made at the market price.
The task force will submit its report within four months.