Cash transfer scheme: Oil ministry asks PMO to delay rollout by three months

FP

The Petroleum Ministry has asked the Prime Minister's Office to defer the rollout of the direct cash subsidy transfer scheme by at least three months. The ministry told the PMO on Monday that its oil marketing companies are not ready to implement the scheme even in the 51 districts identified in the first phase.

Pointing out that bank accounts need to be opened on behalf of the beneficiaries, the ministry highlighted the absence of bank branches in key locations in the districts.

Moreover, it said that before issuing LPG subsidy, consumers who hold LPG connections with more than one oil marketing company would have to be identified. This would require developing a software for which the developer would be selected only through open bidding.

The ministry has sought at least three months' extension for selecting the developer, creating the software and running the de-duplication process. The present software only identifies duplicate consumers with the same residential address under one oil marketing company.

Sources said the meeting did not commit to a timeline but exhorted the ministry to speed up the process, while asking the banking secretary to direct the banks to open branches as soon as possible.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier announced January 1 as the deadline for rolling out the first phase of the scheme with kerosene and LPG subsidies as the first doles.

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