Now, you can track your LPG dealer online. With the government preparing to restrict the number of subsidised cooking cylinders, oil marketing companies have launched a ‘transparency’ portal that allows customers to keep an eye on the number of cylinders sold in their account by the dealer.
Indian Oil Corporation (http://indane.co.in/transparency/index.php), Bharat Petroleum (http://www.ebharatgas.com/pages/footer/Transparency_portal.html) and Hindustan Petroleum (http://dcms.hpcl.co.in/ConsumerPortal/Transparency/Transparency.aspx) have made records available of all cylinders sold to the130-million subscriber base since June on the portal.
The launch of the portal is complementary to the government’s proposal to cap the number of subsidised cylinders to consumers. Right now, the portal has only one head, that shows the number of cylinders sold to a consumer. “The portal is aimed at enhancing transparency, visibility and auditability of the distribution of cylinders across the country. This transparency portal is accessible to the public and shows details of all the customers of LPG who are receiving subsidised cylinders, distributor wise,” said a petroleum ministry official.
Soon, these websites will allow a consumer to register a complaint in case the number of cylinders shown against his name is more than what he/she actually booked or bought. “Once the number of subsidised cylinders is restricted, the portal will show two heads — one showing the number of subsidised cylinders sold and the second showing the number of cylinders sold at market price.”
The portals have been set up in tune with the recommendations of the task force on direct transfer of subsidies headed by UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani. Justifying the proposal to limit the number of subsidised cylinders, the official said the government sells subsidised items like rice, wheat, sugar and kerosene under the public distribution system but here too the quota is fixed.
“Anything which is scarce will have to be rationed. We are highly import dependant for LPG and its coverage is being expanded rapidly. We have no other option but to fix the quota and raise prices for LPG outside the quota,” the ministry official said.
The empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on fuel underrecoveries was scheduled to meet last week to deliberate on the petroleum ministry’s proposal of capping subsidised cylinders. However, the meeting was deferred. Currently, all LPG consumers can buy a domestic LPG cylinder as per requirement at Rs 399.35 in Delhi, which is at a discount of Rs 267 on the desired price of LPG, calculated on import parity price.
The total subsidy on LPG sale for the current year is estimated at Rs 27,000 crore. The subsidised price of domestic LPG incentivizes a diversion for commercial usage. It also leads to indiscriminate use of the cooking fuel.