As over one million consumers in India let go of their LPG subsidies aimed at prioritising the poor, it is still unclear whether ministers or MPs have themselves decided to let go of their cooking gas subsidy.
An RTI query made to seek the names of all those MPs who have given up their LPG subsidy was recently turned down by the government, saying such data was not separately maintained by Indane LPG distributors or IOCL.
However, even though the government said that the same data was available in public domain on mylpg.in, no names of popular ministers were found while searching on the website, which carries a state-by-state and futher district-by-district list of people who have surrendered their subsidy.
The question to ask here also is that if the list of people who have given up their LPG subsidy is available in public domain, why is the same information not available with the government?
Through a sustained audio-visual campaign run to save money for development, three public sector oil companies have managed to convince over one million consumers in India to surrender their LPG subsidy.
When a consumer calls for a refill, a campaign that reaches out through interactive voice response (IVRS) as well as visual media, convinces consumers to bring down the subsidy component.
Among states, 2.09 lakh people have given up their subsidy in Uttar Pradesh while Maharashtra is ranked second in this regard.
“The total saving for the Centre due to 1 million consumers giving up is likely to be Rs 140 crore. In the coming months, we expect the number to go up substantially,” a senior IOCL official had recently said.
Currently, the subsidy provided to consumers translates to money out of the exchequer. The same could instead be used for development purposes, says the oil ministry on its website.