Aadhaar-linked LPG subsidy suspended

Aadhaar-linked LPG subsidy suspended

The Centre on Thursday suspended Aadhaar-linked transfer of LPG subsidy to beneficiaries’ accounts, besides raising the annual quota of subsidised LPG cylinders to households from nine to 12.

Both decisions were in the pipeline. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had met chief ministers of 12 Congress-ruled states last month, when they told the Gandhi scion that the decisions were unpopular.

Gandhi, during an AICC meeting earlier this month, also told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that nine cylinders were not enough.

The Centre had said a couple of months ago that direct benefit transfer for LPG would be implemented in all districts by January end.

The suspension would bring back the old mechanism, where the government paid subsidies to oil marketing companies. “There were certain issues on implementation on the grounds because at places the seeding between Aadhaar number and bank account was not completed. Therefore, to ensure that customers are not at inconvenience in the interim, it has been decided that a committee will be constituted which will review only the implementation of DBTL. Pending the review, consumers will get subsidised cylinders as earlier,” Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.

Moily also hastened to add that the decision was not the government’s failure. “It is not an admission of failure on the part of the scheme and we are quiet proud and happy that this programme has gone on very well. Even if there is a marginal error, we need to correct it. We don’t want to proceed further so we have to go back on the reforms measure,” Moily said.

The scheme was in force in 289 districts of 18 states.

LPG distributors, who have been complaining about lacunae in the Aadhaar-based delivery system, said: “Only closer to the election did the government take a step to rectify wrong decisions.”

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