New Delhi: In a unique drive, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is making personal calls to one VIP every day to request them to give up buying subsidised cooking gas (LPG).
Keen to ensure that the subsidised fuel reaches only those needing it, Mr Pradhan surrendered his subsidised LPG connection soon after becoming a minister and has since then been buying gas at market rates.
On Mr Pradhan's plea, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has given up subsidised LPG.
(Read: Arun Jaitley gives up LPG subsidy)
On Saturday, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has voluntarily also done the same. Power Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted that he too has given up subsidised LPG.
"I am of the belief that the rich and affluent people who can afford to buy market price LPG, should voluntarily give up subsidised connection," he told PTI here.
Several politicians and bureaucrats have already given up using subsidised LPG.
"I am personally calling up one VIP every day to request them to surrender subsidised LPG. Today, I called up Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to urge him to do the same," he said.
Consumers are currently entitled to twelve 14.2 kg cylinders or thirty four 5 kg bottles in a year at subsidised rates.
A subsidised 14.2 kg cylinder is currently available at Rs 417 per bottle in Delhi while the 5 kg pack costs Rs 155.
Market priced LPG is available at Rs 708.50 per 14.2 kg cylinder and Rs 351 per 5 kg bottle.
Giving up subsidised LPG will help cut government's subsidy bill which was Rs 46,458 crore on the fuel last fiscal year.
Mr Pradhan again urged ministers, MPs, MLAs, senior government officials and executives of public sector companies to give up their subsidies.
Public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) have given an option to existing LPG consumers to convert their existing domestic LPG connection into a non-subsidised domestic connection. This can be done by submitting a written request to the distributor or electronically via www.MyLPG.in.
For those buying subsidised LPG, Mr Pradhan is also pushing for subsidy to be paid directly in their bank accounts to help prevent diversions.
"We have received tremendous response since the Direct benefit Transfer Scheme for LPG (now renamed PAHAL) was relaunched on November 15. So far, 7.63 crore consumers out of total LPG users of 15.5 crore have joined the scheme. We are adding one percent of the users to scheme daily," he said.
Domestic LPG users will get Rs 568 in the bank account the moment they join the DBTL. They will have to use this money to buy 14.2-kg refill at the market price.
"Our target is to cover 70-75 per cent of the population in next two months."