State schools, poor people are unable to buy LPG, switch over to wood.
Hyderabad: The price of a subsidised domestic LPG cylinder and a non-subsidised one is narrowing fast.
The charge of a domestic LPG subsidised cylinder has been reviewed upwards by Rs 2 each month from July 2016, and by Rs 4 from the month of August 2017. The intent seems to be to eradicate the subsidy completely by March 2018.
Currently, a subsidised cylinder in Hyderabad prices Rs 495.68 and a non-subsidised cylinder Rs 646. In the month of August, the non-subsidised charge was Rs 572, but from 1st September, it was enlarged by Rs 74.
Every consumer is permitted to 12 subsidised cylinders in a year (April 1st to March 31st). Beyond that limit, the customer pays at the non-subsidised charge.
The rate difference amid a subsidised and non-subsidised cylinder was about Rs 77 still August 2017. On 1st September, the non-subsidised price was augmented by Rs 74, due to which customers are now receiving a subsidy of almost Rs 150.
When the Direct Benefit Scheme (DBT) was announced in June 2013, the amount of the subsidy being compensated in one’s bank account was Rs 435. Currently, the subsidy constituent is between Rs 70 and Rs 150 per cylinder because of the continuous upsurge in the price of subsidised LPG each month from July 2016.
The subsidised cylinder cost was just Rs 456.83 in September previous year, which has enlarged by Rs 40 in a year, imposing a burden on customers.
The government has dispensed LPG networks to lakhs of BPL (below poverty line) families in the past two years below the Deepam and Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana schemes. Currently that it has augmented the price of cylinders, these individuals will be badly affected.
The shortsightedness of such a policy is apparent as people will return to using firewood rather than gas. Now, women self-help groups who cook the government instructed mid-day meals in government schools in villages through the country, as well as social welfare hostels, have stopped using cylinders and are choosing for firewood.
“Out of the entire subsidy component, Rs 28 is tolerated by the Centre and the rest is borne by oil manufacturing companies (OMCs). There are signs that the Centre may remove only its constituent of the subsidy, which is Rs 28, by the month of March 2018. Customers will continue to get the OMC subsidy component after that. But clearness on this is yet to come,” said Mr K. Jagan Mohan Reddy, general secretary, TS LPG Distributors’ Association.
There are almost one crore domestic LPG networks in Telangana State, of which 91 lakh are active. This comprises 23.25 lakh connections specified to BPL families below the Deepam scheme.
The government is scheduling to issue more 20 lakh Deepam connections to attain the goal of making Telangana State a ‘kerosene-free state’. But the higher price they have to pay is depressing BPL families from taking new links, and even those who have a connection, are moving to firewood again.