‘Link accounts, Aadhaar fast for LPG subsidy’

With the first phase of rollout of direct cash transfer (DCT) scheme for LPG expected to begin from May 15, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has called for speedier linkage between bank accounts and Aadhaar number.

According to the oil ministry sources, Thursday's PMO meeting was attended by the petroleum and finance secretary, and UIDAI officials, where banks were urged to accelerate the opening of accounts for those individuals who have an Aadhaar number. The meeting was called to review preparedness of the LPG rollout.

The first phase of LPG cash transfer scheme is expected to be launched in 20 districts where the Aadhaar penetration is at least 80%. However, according to oil ministry sources, the linkage between Aadhaar number and bank account is currently at around just 20%.

A standing committee on petroleum and natural gas quoted an oil ministry official saying, "We have got Aadhaar penetration of 80% and nearly 70% of our consumers have been able to give their Aadhaar number to LPG distributors. But the LPG consumers have not given their Aadhaar numbers to the their bank. So, the linkage between Aadhaar number and bank account is only about 20%."

The ministry official further said there are worries that when the scheme is rolled out only about 20% of the people will be getting the first advance and the remaining 80% will not be getting any advance.

To avail the subsidy scheme the beneficiary must give his Aadhaar card number to the LPG distributor and the bank. The LPG distributor will give the Aadhaar number to the oil marketing companies (OMCs) who in turn will turn will transfer money to the beneficiaries' account.

Once the DBT scheme is in place, LPG consumers in these 20 districts will get about R4,000 per annum in cash from the government, and they will have to then buy LPG at market price of R901.50 per 14.2kg cylinder.

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