Within a week of its launch, the ambitious direct benefit transfer programme for cooking gas (LPG) has hit a quarter million transactions with Rs 10 crore of subsidy given to consumers directly.
"In the first seven days, 250,000 households in 18 districts have been disbursed a subsidy of Rs 435 each," an Oil Ministry official said.
In all, Rs 10 crore has been given to consumers by way of subsidy when they booking a LPG refill.
The 18 districts where the DBT on LPG has been initially launched, have some 73 lakh cooking gas users.
Under the scheme launched on June 1, LPG consumers get Rs 435 in their bank accounts when they book an LPG cylinder. They are then expected to use this cash subsidy to buy a LPG refill at market price which is roughly the double of Rs 410 per 14.2-kg subsidised rate in Delhi.
The scheme was to be rolled out in 20 districts initially but the launch in Mysore in Karnataka and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh has been put off by a month due to assembly and Parliamentary bypolls there, the official said.
The government intends to extend the scheme to rest of the country before the end of the year but wants to see results in the 20 districts first. The districts selected have high Aadhaar or unique identification number penetration.
While as many as 89 per cent of the LPG consuming population in these districts have Aadhaar number, government will give a three-month grace period to them to procure the UID number and seed it with their bank accounts where cash subsidy has to be transferred.
After three months, that is from September 1, only those consumers who have Aadhaar and bank accounts linked to them will get cash subsidy and the rest will have to buy LPG at market price, the official said.
The government anticipates a saving of Rs 8,000-10,000 crore in LPG subsidy annually after the scheme is rolled out all over the country.
Currently, consumers are entitled to nine 14.2-kg LPG cylinders at subsidised rates in a year from the dealers. Many of these are black-marketed to unintended users like commercial establishments who otherwise have to buy the fuel at market price.
The 18 districts where the DBT for LPG was launched from June 1 are: Anantpur, Chittoor, East Godavari, Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy in Andhra Pradesh; Diu in Daman and Diu; North Goa; Bilaspur, Hamirpur and Una in Himachal Pradesh; Tumkur in Karnataka; Pathanamthitta and Wayand in Kerala; Wardha in Maharasthra; Pondicherry; SBS Nagar/Nawanshahar in Punjab and East Nimar (Khandwa) and Harda in Madhya Pradesh.