City anchor: Pilot on direct cash subsidy for kerosene starts next week

Next week, the state government will start identifying ration card holders in Mumbai for direct cash subsidy for kerosene under a three-month central government pilot project, the Controller of Rationing and Director of Civil Supplies said on Thursday.

The central government gives a subsidy of Rs 32 per litre for kerosene. Cash subsidy is directly linked to the quota the beneficiary is entitled to. The amount will be deposited in the beneficiary's bank account.

The scheme for saffron, yellow and Antyodaya ration card holders will be implemented in select areas including Mumbai, Mumbai suburbs, Amravati, Nandurbar, Pune and Nashik. There are 3.99 lakh saffron, yellow and Antyodaya ration card holders in A-ward and 5.15 lakh in G- ward.

They include 7.5 lakh individuals identified as kerosene consumers.

The Civil Supplies department aims at covering beneficiaries between Colaba and Dharavi and Goregaon and Dahisar in a month's time. Within three months, the entire city as well as Thane district will be covered.

Applicants need to submit proof of residence and gas connection, if any, along with the application form. They also need a joint account to credit the subsidy, and one of the signatories will have to be a woman of the family. "We have made the joint account mandatory to give women in the family greater control of the subsidy amount. For Mumbai alone, 14,232 kilolitres of kerosene has been earmarked for supply to beneficiaries," said Ashwini Joshi, Controller of Rationing and Director of Civil Supplies.

The form will have to be submitted at the nearest ration office within a month.

The scheme is not open to those possessing white ration cards, those having two-cylinder LPG connection, or piped gas connection. The release of funds into the bank accounts will depend on the central government.

"Once the forms are ready, they will be sent to ration offices and uploaded on our website. Our staff will be present at each office to help people fill the forms. We are only compiling the data for the central government," said Joshi. Brushing away fears of any misuse of the scheme, she said, "If it is found that the subsidy is not being used to purchase kerosene, further subsidy will not be credited after the first installment. But it is too early to comment on the execution of the scheme. It is for the central government to decide the subsidy amount," she said.

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