Running a sustained audio-visual campaign to rein in welfare costs, the three public sector oil companies have managed to convince over one million consumers across India to surrender their LPG subsidy.
Around 15.3 crore consumers are registered with the three companies, Indian Oil (Indane), Bharat Petroleum (Bharat Gas) and Hindustan Petroleum (HP Gas), which incur a total subsidy cost of Rs 40,000 crore on providing 12 LPG cylinders per year to each consumer.
The campaign, which reaches out through visual media as well through interactive voice response (IVRS), when a consumer calls for a refill, is aimed at bringing down the subsidy component.
The oil companies are hoping to persuade at least 1 crore consumers to give up their gas subsidy. Uttar Pradesh has 2.09 lakh consumers, who have given up subsidy so far, the maximum among all states. UP is followed by Maharashtra.
“Uttar Pradesh which has the maximum population among all states also has several lakh LPG consumers. Most consumers who have given up their LPG subsidy in Uttar Pradesh are from industrialized areas like Noida,” Indian Oil executive director Indrajit Bose told TOI on Friday.
Until June-end, Tamil Nadu had 48,032 consumers who had surrendered subsidy, but in a fortnight from then, almost 20,000 names were added to the list.
If the campaign continues at the same pace, the savings could be significant, say officials. “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,” said Bose.
The subsidy provided translates to money out of the exchequer. The same instead could be used for development purposes benefitting the nation, says the oil ministry on its website.
Indane has the maximum number of LPG consumers with 4.45 lakh, followed by Hindustan Petroleum with 2.81 lakh and Hindustan Petroleum with 2.79 lakh.
Meanwhile, with the deadline for availing of subsidy by connecting consumers’ bank accounts with Aadhar number ending, those opting for the Pahal scheme will not be able to get subsidy with retrospective effect. “Consumers can still join the scheme but they will not be able to get subsidy for three or four months before enrolment,” said an IOC official.