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The Government will start paying cash subsidy for domestic cooking gas consumers in 20 districts by January, Petroleum Secretary G. C. Chaturvedi said. The process would be applicable to consumers who have Aadhaar numbers.
“Wherever it (Aadhaar penetration) is less than 80-90 per cent, it can’t be the basis of transfer. This will create exclusion... It is a very difficult task. While 20 districts are ready, for the balance 31 districts it will take another one to two months,” Chaturvedi said while addressing the 11th Petro India organised by the India Energy Forum.
At present, Aadhaar penetration is just 20 crore against a population of 120 crore.
NO EASY TASK
The Secretary said rolling out direct subsidy transfer was not an easy task. “Direct transfer of gas subsidy is a good method to reach directly to the beneficiaries and will reduce pilferage but it is not easy as yet,” he added.
In India, more than 55 per cent of the households use domestic cooking gas accounting to nearly 140 million subscribers from three public sector companies — IOC, HPCL and BPCL.
Last month, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced that the Government would implement direct cash transfer of subsidies from January 1, 2013. This would be done across 51 districts in 15 States.
The direct cash transfer mechanism is expected to roll out in the entire country in the next one year.
The Congress-led UPA Government is expecting the direct cash transfer to be the ‘transformational change.’ It would help Government cut subsidies and narrow down fiscal deficit.
“It (subsidies) has reached a threshold, and now we are converting it into an opportunity,” Chidambaram had said.
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