Let us volunteer!
Oil ministry directs oil companies’ to urge their staff to give up subsidised LPG cylinders
By Rajeev Jayaswal & Partha Ghosh, ET Bureau | 5 Jul, 2014, 10.18AM ISTPost a Comment
Well-off people can contribute to fiscal prudence by opting out of the subsidy on a website, which will in effect embarrass the rich who want to hang on to sops.Well-off people can contribute to fiscal prudence by opting out of the subsidy on a website, which will in effect embarrass the rich who want to hang on to sops.
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NEW DELHI: The government has devised an innovative strategy to cut cooking gas subsidy without igniting protests. Well-off people can contribute to fiscal prudence by opting out of the subsidy on a website, which will in effect embarrass the rich who want to hang on to sops.
As a first step, the oil ministry has directed state refiners and explorers to urge their employees, about a lakh in all, to volunteer for the “opt out of subsidy” campaign and pay market rates for the fuel, government and industry officials said. IndianOil and Bharat Petroleum Corporation(BPCL) have promptly initiated the move. Eventually, it is expected to be launched in all state-owned firms, which employ a total of 1.8 million people.
The plan, which will go far beyond public sector firms, emanated from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), people familiar with the development said. To set the ball rolling, BPCLChairman S Varadarajan has already surrendered cooking gas subsidy.
Oilmin’s Portal for Opting Out
“The chairman is the first among five executives to relinquish LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) subsidy and his name appears in the ‘Scroll of Honour’ at the Bharatgas website,” a company executive said. The oil ministry said 100 executives had already volunteered.
Varadarajan made an emotional appeal to his staff, asking them to “contribute wholeheartedly to the cause of nation-building … (and) lead the way so that millions follow”. He said the subsidy on LPG cylinders was a mammoth Rs 46,000 crore, as a result of which 36% of Indians, especially the poor, did not have access to clean cooking gas at home.
According to oil ministry data, Indians on an average use 7.2 LPG cylinders at home. If one signs up for the “opt out of subsidy” scheme and was using seven cylinders, he would have to cough up an additional Rs 3,600 a year. If one requires 12 cylinders a year — the maximum number of subsidised cylinders available — he or she would have to pay Rs 6,200 a year more.
The scheme will soon be launched nationwide, government officials said. The oil ministry plans to launch a portal that would be called ‘mylpg. in’, which any citizen could access and opt out of cooking gas subsidy without cumbersome paper-work, officials said.”Many rich and affluent bureaucrats, politicians, businessmen and citizens do not want LPG subsidy. But they do not make any effort in this direction because an exit from the subsidy scheme is complicated and time-consuming.
The portal will solve this issue,” an official said, requesting anonymity. “The portal will also have an interesting feature — the Scroll of Honour — where names of consumers voluntarily opting out of LPG subsidy would appear. Non-appearance of names of rich and affluent consumers would bring disrepute to such people because the media would highlight them,” the official added.
The campaign seeks to ensure LPG subsidy for the poor and also to cover parts of the country that are relying on wood and coal for cooking.