Navin Khanwalkar, a city-based businessman, recently opted to give up his LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) subsidy and buy cylinders at non-subsidised rates.
He is among the 65 customers in Madhya Pradesh who have decided to give up their LPG subsidy in response to an appeal made by Petroleum and Natural Gas ministry. However, this constitutes only 2% of the 3,095 customers so far in the country who have sacrificed their subsidy to help the exchequer save crores in subsidies every year. According to websites of oil marketing companies, a majority of those giving up the subsidy are from New Delhi, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Oil marketing companies have been sending text messages to customers asking them to give up their subsidy component to reduce the burden of the government. In 2013-14, the Centre provided Rs 46,000 crore towards LPG subsidy across the country.
Talking to HT, Khanwalkar said, "I think people who can afford to buy non-subsidized LPG cylinders should do so and help lessen the subsidy burden on the government. As it is, many people buy LPG cylinder in black market but the extra money goes into the pockets of middlemen."
While the cost of 14.2kg subsidized LPG cylinder in Indore is Rs 452, the non-subsidized LPG cylinder costs Rs 1,022. So, the government will save Rs 5,700 per annum for every customer who consumes 10 cylinders per year.
According to latest figures, 22 customers of Indane have opted out of subsidy in Madhya Pradesh against 1,470 in the country. The corresponding figures for Bharat Gas for Madhya Pradesh is 26 (951) and for HP Gas is 17 (674).
Since the launch of the campaign, officials have been receiving calls from customers seeking clarity on the issue. "The names of people who have opted out of subsidy in LPG connection have been uploaded on the websites of the respective companies," an official of Bharat Gas said adding that the company has also asked its senior-level employees to give up subsidy.
The message being sent to customers reads like this: "We call upon all LPG consumers who can afford to pay the market price for their LPG supply to be a part of this nation building exercise by giving up LPG subsidy."
Number of customers who have opted out in Madhya Pradesh
Indane: 22 (1,470)
HP: 17 (674)
Bharat Gas: 26 (951)
(Note: All India figures in brackets)
Cost of 14.2kg subsidised LPG cylinder: Rs 452
Cost of 14.2kg non-subsidized LPG cylinder: Rs 1,022
Price difference: Rs 570