Just 600 consumers in Madhya Pradesh have so far given up liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) subsidy in response to an appeal made by the Petroleum and Natural Gas ministry early last year.
Figures available on the websites of the oil marketing companies show that 619 consumers in Madhya Pradesh have volunteered to buy non-subsidised cylinders. The number has gone up in the last six months due to more awareness and fall in prices of non-subsidised LPG cylinders, says an LPG company official.
According to the latest figures, 20,755 consumers across the country have opted for non-subsidised LPG cylinders.
At present, a subsidised LPG cylinder in the state costs Rs 457 and it costs Rs 777 in the open market. The price gap has narrowed down to Rs 320 from Rs 570 in mid-2014 when the appeal was made.
There are 1.3 crore active connections in Madhya Pradesh and 15.3 crore across the country. Around 227 customers of Indane have opted out of subsidy in Madhya Pradesh against 8,460 in the country. The corresponding figures for Bharat Gas for Madhya Pradesh is 185 (5,042) and for HP Gas is 207 (7,253).
The number is embarrassingly low for a country where millionaires are on the rise. India had 1,75,000 millionaire households in 2013, ranking 15th in the world, according to the Boston Consulting Group’s 14th annual report. And the annual subsidy component of around Rs 4,000 is a small change for them.
Oil marketing companies have been sending text messages to customers asking them to give up their subsidy component to reduce the burden on the government. In 2013-14, the Centre provided Rs. 46,000 crore towards LPG subsidy across the country.
Since the launch of the campaign, officials have been receiving calls from customers seeking clarity on the issue. "The names of people who opted out of subsidy in LPG connection have been uploaded on the website. We expect the number to rise as the price gap has narrowed down," an official of Bharat Gas said, adding that the company has also asked its senior-level employees to give up subsidy.
Navin Khanwalkar, a city-based businessmen who has opted out of the scheme said, "I think people who can afford to buy non-subsidised LPG cylinders should do so and help lessen the subsidy burden on the government."
Number of customers who have opted out in Madhya Pradesh
Indane: 227 (8,460)
HP: 207 (7,253)
Bharat Gas: 185 (5,042)
(Note: All India figures in brackets)
Cost of 14.2kg subsidised LPG cylinder: Rs 457
Cost of 14.2kg non-subsidized LPG cylinder: Rs 777
Price difference: Rs 320