While the government has linked 125 million domestic cooking gas connections in the country to bank accounts under the direct benefit transfer of LPG (DBTL) scheme ‘Pahal’, bringing the remaining 25 million consumers on board may be a challenge.
Officials said work to cover the rest — about 17% or nearly a sixth of the total connections — had cooled off over the last few weeks.
Government officials with direct knowledge of the matter said that while the rate of seeding, as the process is termed, had peaked in February, it has now virtually plateaued.
Latest state-wise figures were not immediately available, but officials said the rate of seeding in Delhi had levelled off at around 70%. “Before the scheme began, Delhi had five million LPG connections, of which a million duplicate ones were weeded out,” said an official.
“Out of the remaining four million, only about 2.8 million or 70% have signed up for DBTL,” the official added. Another government official said it was unclear why the remaining customers had not come forward to seed their accounts.
There is a high probability that many of these could be of more than one LPG connection for the same address, he said. “For one, Delhi has a significant floating population, which cannot get a connection in their own name.” March 31 was the initial deadline to sign up for DBTL. This has been extended to June 30, after which consumers will not be given subsidy.
A petroleum ministry spokesperson said that 80% seeding had been the initial target, which had been met.