Call it symbolism or tokenism, but the oil ministry’s campaign requesting VIPs to give up subsidy on LPG seems to be gaining momentum among the political class.
Venkaiah Naidu voluntarily gave up subsidy and Jaitley was among the first to decide buy it at market rate
Call it symbolism or tokenism, but the oil ministry’s campaign requesting VIPs to give up subsidy on LPG seems to be gaining momentum among the political class.After around five ministers in the Modi government decided to buy LPG at market price, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan is planning to write to MPs, cutting across party lines, making an appeal to them to follow suit.Ministry sources said though politicians’ giving up LPG subsidy would not mean much in financial terms, it sends a message to people that subsidies are not for those who can afford to buy them at market price.Finance minister Arun Jaitley was among the first to decide on taking LPG at market price, followed by parliamentary affairs and urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu and environment minister Prakash Javadekar.Pradhan tweeted on Tuesday also thanking chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar– N Chandrababu Naidu and Jatin Manjhi–for agreeing to his request to give up subsidy on LPG.Besides Naidu and Manjhi, Pradhan had spoken to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who also responded positively to his proposal, sources said.In a country, which has the largest subsidy network, the government’s subsidy bill on account of cooking fuel was Rs 46,458 crore. At the subsidised rate, a cylinder weighing 14.2 kg costs Rs417 while otherwise it is Rs 708.50. In a year, the subsidy on 12 cylinders would be nearly Rs 4,000.The government is of the view that the subsidy should go to the needy and has launched the voluntary scheme to opt out of subsidy.The ministry has also revived the scheme for subsidy to be paid directly in their bank accounts. So far, over eight crore consumers, which means 53 per cent of the total 15.5 crore LPG users, have joined the scheme, under which their bank accounts have been linked to it.