No thumbs-up to ‘Give-it Up’: Odisha lags behind Assam in giving up LPG subsidy

Odisha fares poorly in 'Give-it Up' scheme under PMUY and 'I Pledge for 9' campaign under PMSMA

Bhubaneswar:  With Odisha having the hoary past of making even the mighty emperor Ashoka become the Dhamma Ashoka, who finally ‘gave-up’ his hunger for conquest, the ancient ‘give-up’ culture and tradition seems to have lost its way in the contemporary Odisha.

In this era of ‘entitlement’ politics and schemes, it seems the contemporary Odia society have lost the touch of its glorious ‘give-up’ spirit.

When the State has been in the headlines for wrong reasons like well-off sections in the society grabbing the NFSA (National Food Security Act) card or KALIA benefits, another revelation to the fore is despite figuring as 14th big consumer of LPG gas nationally, Odisha failed to figure in the top-15 states in the PM Modi’s ‘Give-it Up’ your LPG scheme.

As per the latest data available with the OMCs (Oil Marketing Companies) here, over 1.57 lakh LPG consumers in the State have given-up their ‘entitlement’ of subsidy on LPG refills.

It needs mentioning that during the launch of PM Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), PM Modi had given a clarion call to users across the country, whereby he urged all the consumers who can afford to pay the market price for LPG to voluntarily surrender their LPG subsidy.  And accordingly, the Government has launched the ‘#GiveItUp’ campaign.

While over one crore consumers across the country have given up their subsidy on LPG till date, the consumers who adopted the ‘Give-it Up’ in Odisha were far less than a small state like Assam.

Sample this. The population of Assam is over 3.5 crore in 2018-19. The total domestic LPG sales in the State stood at 4.01 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT). And the number of consumers who joined the ‘Give-it Up’ campaign stood at a massive 1.88 lakh.

In contrast, Odisha has a population of around 4.6 crore in 2018-19, and the total domestic LPG sales in the year stood at 4.81LMT. But the number of consumers who joined the ‘Give-it Up’ scheme were around 1.58 lakh. Top OMC sources revealed that many high-profile ministers in the State are still availing the LPG subsidy.

Significantly,  the poverty rate in Assam in 2009-10 (latest available data on poverty rate) was 37.9 per cent against 32.8 per cent in Odisha in the same period. This shows Assam is not a prosperous State than Odisha, economically.

The missing ‘Rotarian’ nature of the contemporary  Odia society again pops up when from a whopping 18,017 active doctors registered in the State, a mere 188 have pledged volunteerism support to ‘I Pledge for 9’ under Modi’s Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA). This, when Odisha languished at the bottom in Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) nationally.

Why the ‘volunteerism’ is missing in Odisha? According to political observers, motivation is the mother of ‘volunteerism’ and the lack of such a drive-factor is responsible for the fading ‘volunteerism’ from the contemporary Odia society.