By Ajay Modi
Having capped subsidised liquified petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder sale to six in a year, the government is now planning to move to a single price for domestic LPG. This would be done by directly transferring subsidy to consumers with or without Aadhaar numbers. A committee of officials from the ministries of petroleum, banking, expenditure, finance and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will prepare a white paper on the modalities by next month. In a meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office earlier this month, a decision has been taken to gradually initiate Aadhaar and non-Aadhaar -based LPG subsidy transfer through the oil marketing companies - IndianOil , Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum . A dual pricing has come into being after the cap was imposed.
Under the proposed single-price regime, all domestic LPG cylinders will be sold at a market price, and the differential on the first six will be directly transferred to Aadhaar-enabled bank account of consumers.
Though the Aadhaar identity has emerged as a tool to eliminate duplicates and fake identities in LPG connection, but considering its low penetration, the government will have to depend on bank accounts for customer authentication as well as subsidy transfer, said an oil company executive.
An LPG pilot was also planned for Hyderabad and Pune but it could not take off. In Hyderabad, it has been temporarily suspended, as consumers are unwilling to share Aadhaar and related details with oil companies and state government has ruled out compelling consumers. In Pune, it has been altogether suspended due to low Aadhaar penetration.
The government now plans to extend pilot to 50 districts.