New Delhi: With LPG prices shooting up, over 1 lakh people who had given up their LPG subsidy under Modi government’s “Give it up” campaign are once again opting to take up subsidy. Earlier this week, petroleum minister in a written reply informed the Parliament that people who had given up their LPG subsidy have an option to switch back to “avail the subsidised cylinders after one year of giving up their subsidy.”
As per the reply, 1.12 lakh people have “opted in” for LPG subsidy after one year as on April 1, 2017. Over 1 crore people had given up their LPG subsidy under “Give it Up” campaign. However, recently there has been a spurt in non-subsidised LPG cylinder prices due to increase in international crude oil prices. A non-subsidised LPG cylinder was around Rs 470 in Delhi in September 2016. This was just approximately Rs 50 more than a subsidised cylinder which then priced around Rs 420.
However, in April 2017 a non-subsidised LPG cylinder costs around `725 in Delhi against a subsidised LPG cylinder which is at around `440. An individual with an annual income of less than Rs 10 lakh can avail 12 subsidised LPG cylinders in a year. According to experts, if prices of non-subsidised LPG cylinders moved up further, more people may once again take up subsidy. The government had claimed there was a subsidy saving of Rs 1,731 crore in 2015-16 due to its “Give up campaign”.
Around 17 crore consumers are registered to avail subsidy through direct benefit transfer scheme. Between April-December 2016, Centre had paid a subsidy of Rs 7,252 crore for domestic LPG cylinders. The government has said that for every LPG subsidy given by an individual, it will give a free LPG connection to a BPL family. According to petroleum ministry’s reply, in Maharashtra 23,000 consumers have again started taking up LPG subsidy after giving it up a year ago. In UP the number is 13,500, Karnataka 9,000, Tamil Nadu 7,600, West Bengal 4,600, Andhra 4,302, Kerala 3,928 and Telangana 3,950.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the ‘Give It Up’ campaign in March 2015. He had urged well-off to surrender their LPG subsidy so that it can be targeted for the needy. “Gas cylinders surrendered by them would be transferred to the poor who use wood for cooking. If one crore people give up their LPG subsidy, one crore poor people will benefit as they will be given new LPG cylinders instead,” he had said....