Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged affluent Indians to give up LPG (cooking gas) subsidies so that the poor can benefit.
A subsidised 14.2-kg LPG cylinder costs Rs 417 in Delhi against the market price of Rs 610. The government provides 12 subsidised cylinders annually.
“I appeal to those who can buy LPG at market price, to please do not take subsidised LPG,” Modi said at the first ‘Urja Sangam’ conference. “The money we save with your help, we will use for the poor so that they have access to clean energy too.”
The Prime Minister lauded 280,000 people for giving up LPG subsidy, which has resulted in Rs 100-crore saving for the government. “This money could be used for schools and providing medical facilities,” he said.
As many as 120 million bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, which is being used to transfer subsidies directly to consumers, have emerged as effective instruments to plug leakages and fight corruption, Modi said. “To fight corruption, if institutional mechanism, transparent mechanism, policy-driven system can be put in place then we can prevent leakages. And this has been proved by cash transfer.”
Since the government started the new scheme of direct benefit transfer (DBT) for cooking gas, many more people have opted out of the subsidy scheme.
The Prime Minister also asked Indian oil firms to explore more opportunities in North America and Africa, and increase their presence in energy corridors in West Asia, central Asia and South Asia to emerge as global players. “In global relations energy diplomacy has become a requirement. The more our companies become multinational, the more we can increase our reach and space in this sector.”
Pitching for an energy-sufficient India, Modi said the country should cut oil imports by 10% by 2022. “If we become successful in reducing import by 10% in 2022, by achieving 10% growth in domestic production, then I can assure you that by 2030 we can reduce this import to 50%.”
Oil imports account for 77% of domestic demand, and the country’s oil import bill was `189,238 crore in 2013-14.
He also asked officials and stakeholders to ensure piped gas connection to 10 million households in the next four years from the current 27,00,000.