LPG, kerosene availability high on govt agenda
Adequate availability of essential products like LPG (cooking gas) and kerosene in states, where its availability is less, figures high in the priority agenda plan being drawn by the new government.
“Maximum citizens’ satisfaction in respect of availability of LPG and Kerosene” figures in the 100 days action plan being prepared for the new government, a senior minister inducted in the Manmohan Singh’s Cabinet, who did not wish to be identified, revealed.
“Our focus under the action plan is to increase the availability of LPG in states as also target subsidy on LPG and kerosene to only those consumers who are below the poverty line (BPL),” the minister said, adding that the petroleum ministry has already asked the state-owned oil marketing companies —Indian Oil, HPCL and BPCL — to prepare a report regarding the LPG coverage in the states where the availability of LPG is less than the national average.
“A contingency plan to ensure uninterrupted supplies of petroleum products will also be prepared as part of the initiatives by the new government.”
The minister said that in order to ensure coverage in low service areas, the petroleum ministry has also asked the oil PSUs to submit a periodic report on the opening up of new LPG distributorship in such areas.
Amidst the talk of freeing the petroleum products pricing, the minister said the government would continue to subsidise kerosene and domestic LPG.
Currently, oil firms sell kerosene at a loss of Rs 12.27 a litre and LPG at a loss of Rs 91.51 per 14.2-kg LPG cylinder. However, as against the present mechanism of the subsidy being borne by the oil marketing companies, the subsidy on LPG and kerosene would be targeted to the poor and would be compensated directly out of government budget.
A provision to this regard is expected in the forthcoming budget to be announced shortly by the new government, he said.