Direct benefit transfer of LPG subsidy set for relaunch on Nov 15

Eventually, all consumers should join the scheme through Aadhaar, say new guidelines

The Aadhaar-based Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG (DBTL) scheme, which was shelved in March this year following complaints, is all set to be re-introduced in Mysuru and Tumakuru districts in a modified avatar on November 15.

Customers without Aadhaar numbers will have some temporary relief.
Modifications in the scheme will allow them to get subsidies even without Aadhaar numbers for some time. But eventually, Aadhaar numbers will be required for transfer of subsidies.

Consumer organisations have criticised the move, saying it would amount to contempt of court as the Supreme Court, in an interim order, had ruled against making Aadhaar mandatory for the subsidies.

Consumers, irrespective of whether they have enrolled for Aadhaar or not, can benefit from the scheme. They can seed their bank account against their 17-digit LPG consumers IDs with the LPG distributors.

The 17-digit unique customer IDs are being text-messaged to all consumers, according to Mehul Patel of Amardeep Gas Agency, Mysuru. Such seeding of LPG consumer IDs could be done at bank branches where customers have their accounts. These consumers will be classified as ‘Bank Based Cash Transfer Compliant’ (BCTC) and will receive subsidies on their bank accounts, even without Aadhaar.

Consumers who have already seeded their Aadhaar numbers with LPG consumer numbers and bank account details are considered ‘Aadhaar Based Cash Transfer Compliant’ (ACTC).

3-month grace period

To join the modified scheme, a non-CTC consumer will have a grace period of three months from the launch of the scheme, as per the guidelines issued to LPG distributors, Patel said. During this period, the non-CTC consumer should either become an ACTC or a BCTC. At the end of the grace period, a non-CTC consumer will not get any subsidies. However, the beneficiary will have a ‘Subsidy Parking Period’ of three months after the grace period, by which he/she will be required to become an ACTC or a BCTC.

Aadhaar the precedent

As per the guidelines, Aadhaar will be the “precedent” for subsidy transfer, meaning that a BCTC customer can be converted to ACTC, but the reverse is not permitted.

“It is mandatory for a BCTC consumer to convert to ACTC as and when he/she gets the Aadhaar number which is the ‘Primary Mode’ for LPG subsidy transfer. Over a period, it is expected that all consumers should join the scheme through Aadhaar-based subsidy transfer,” the guidelines read.

The guidelines also allow consumers to change their bank accounts to which the subsidies are being credited, with the help of 17-digit LPG consumer IDs.According to lead bank manager K N Shivalingaiah of the State Bank of Mysore, 4,88,820 out of the 5,85,500 customers in Mysuru district are ACTC as of November 5.

Consumers not happy

Maj Gen (retd) Sudhir Vombatkere, who had filed a petition against making Aadhaar mandatory to get subsidies, said that the re-introduction violated the Supreme Court interim order of September 2013. The interim order said, “...no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card inspite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory.....”

The petition is yet to be adjudicated by the Supreme Court and re-introducing Aadhaar could amount to contempt of court, he said.
  

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