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Odisha opposes end of subsidy on LPG cylinders

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: The Odisha government today opposed the decision of Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry to hike LPG prices by Rs 4 per cylinder every month to end all subsidies on the cooking gas by the end of the current fiscal year.

Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare minister Surya Narayan Patro alleged the central government has cheated people, it had provided subsidy in some states in view of elections.
He termed the current decision of the government as unfortunate. The BJD will approach the people and protest on it, added Patro.

Earlier in the day, the decision received sharp criticism in the Rajya Sabha. Opposition members sloganeered during the reply of Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in the house. They created ruckus near the table of the Deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha due to which the house had been adjourned till 12 noon.

Replying in Lok Sabha on Monday, Pradhan had said the hike was taken to cut off the subsidies entirely by March next year.

Previously, the government had asked Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) and other public sector oil marketing companies (OMC)s to raise rates of subsidised domestic LPG by Rs 2 per 14.2 kg each month (excluding VAT) with effect from July 1, 2016.

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Since that go-ahead, there have been 10 such occasions when the oil companies had hiked LPG rates.

“Subsidy will not be cut down, it will only be rationalised. The (Opposition) uproar is baseless.” Pradhan added.

Later on May 30, 2017, the government gave a further hike to the effective price of subsidised domestic LPG by Rs 4 per cylinder (excluding VAT) with effect from June 1 this year.

Presently every household is entitled to 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg each at subsidised rates in a year and extra requirement beyond that is purchased at market price. In the current system, every household gets LPG cylinders at market price. The government subsequently transfers the subsidy amount of Rs 86 per cylinder which includes government subsidy of Rs 58 and the other Rs 28 is borne by the oil marketing companies through direct benefit transfer to beneficiaries’ bank accounts.

There are as many as 18.11 crore customers of subsidised LPG in the country including 2.5 crore beneficiaries who were given free connections during the last one year under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna. There are another 2.66 crore users of non-subsidised cooking gas.

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