Agencies, New Delhi
Keeping the popular demand and the diktat of the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in mind, the Union Cabinet today decided to enhance the number of subsidised LPG cylinders from nine to 12 a year, putting on hold the Aadhar linked Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)scheme.
The Cabinet decided to appoint a high-level committee to go into the whole range of issues and make their recommendations to the Government, Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily told newspersons after the meeting. The additional subsidy burden to the Government because of the increase in the number of cylinders will be around Rs 5,000 crore. The total subsidy paid on LPG cylinders was Rs 80,000 crore. The customers will be eligible for one subsidised cylinder each in February and March in this fiscal.
Till there is a final decision on the issue, the present system of giving the subsidies to the Oil Marketing Companies will continue, he said.
The DBT scheme, he said, was working well in the first phase but there were some complaints regarding the seeding of Aadhar cards with the banks. About 1.7 crore customers stand benefitted.
Asked why the Government had put on hold the scheme which it had described as a ‘game changer’, Mr Moily and Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the DBT was certainly a success eliminating delays and loopholes. It was not just meant for LPG cylinders but a range of other benefits like distribution of scholarships.
Asked to clarify if the Government intended to give one subsidised LPG cylinder a month or 12 cylinders a year, the two Ministers avoided a direct reply saying that the Government will not inconvenience the LPG users.
Cabinet approves changes in OBC central list
The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for making amendments in the Central List of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in respect of 13 States and three Union Territories. The states are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal and the three Union Territories are Chandigarh, Delhi and Puducherry. The amendments include correction, inclusion, deletion of castes/communities according to advice received from the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).