On Saturday, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, reviewed, in a high level meeting, PaHaL (Pratyaksha Hastaantarit Laabh), the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme for LPG Subsidy.
PaHaL, which covers more than. 9.75 crore LPG consumers, is perhaps the world’s largest cash transfer program as compared to similar programs in other countries, such as China, Mexico and Brazil.
Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, made the presentation on PahaL to the Prime Minister at the high level meeting.
Under PaHaL, LPG cylinders are sold at market rates and entitled consumers get the subsidy directly into their bank accounts. This is done either through an Aadhaar linkage or a bank account linkage.
PaHaL aims to reduce diversion and eliminate duplicate or bogus LPG connections.
The Prime Minister conveyed his congratulations for the scheme having witnessed massive enrolment in a short span of time. As on date, 9.75 crore LPG consumers have joined the scheme. This is 66% of the total consumer base of 15 crore.
An amount of Rs. 3654 crore has already been transferred into the bank accounts of LPG consumers through 9.25 crore transactions. The modified scheme has put in place various mechanisms to simplify enrolment and enhance consumer convenience, and thus, only 1.09 lakh complaints have been received so far, which constitute a mere 0.1% of the transactions. Over 85% of the complaints have been resolved.
Preliminary data from 54 districts indicate that the growth of subsidised LPG has reduced significantly accompanied by a corresponding increase in sale of commercial LPG. This indicates that the scheme will enable substantive savings in subsidy which can then be deployed for other productive purposes, without reducing any entitlements of existing consumers.
The success of the scheme is a result of an intensive Information Education Campaign comprising advertising through various means, direct reaching out to consumers, and dealer level campaigns. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has undertaken several innovative measures such as guardian officers for each district, deployment of technology by use of SMS, and a single window portal www.mylpg.in to enable consumers to join the scheme. This portal is an important step in bringing transparency and gives details of who is benefiting from subsidy.
The Prime Minister said that after Pradhaan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, this is the next big scheme which will substantially benefit the economy. He directed that all steps should be taken to bring the remaining LPG consumers into the fold of PaHaL as soon as possible. He wanted Aadhaar enrolment and linkages with bank accounts to be expedited, taking advantage of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. The Prime Minister has also asked for an impact analysis of the programme to be conducted in a professional manner.
The Prime Minister complimented the staff and management of Oil PSUs and dealers for the successful rollout of the scheme.