Govt refutes CAG claim on LPG subsidy; says DBT scheme saved Rs 21K cr in 2 yrs
New Delhi, July 20: In face of a CAG report drilling holes into subsidy savings made on LPG, the government today asserted that over Rs 21,000 crore was indeed saved in two years by directly transferring subsidy to user bank accounts.
While a CAG report to be tabled in Parliament during current monsoon session is said to have found the saving of just one-tenth of the amount, the Oil Ministry issued a press statement to provide for detailed calculations of the subsidy savings on use of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for fiscal years 2014-15 and 2015-16.
The savings from the elimination of fake/ duplicate/ ghost cooking gas LPG connection as a result of implementation of DBT in last two years are estimated at Rs 21,261.4 crore.
As many as 3.34 crore duplicate/fake/ghost/inactive domestic LPG connections were identified as a result of elaborate exercise to identify actual users and link their bank accounts for transfer of subsidy.
Before DBT for LPG, all or many of these 3.34 crore consumers would have continued to purchase subsidised
cylinders. But for the blocking of these accounts, the subsidy bill would have been much higher despite fall in crude oil prices.Giving out government calculations, it said going by the 12 subsidised 14.2-kg cylinders per household in a year, the 3.34 crore blocked consumers would have consumed Rs 14,818.4 crore of subsidy after considering average subsidy of Rs 369.72 per cylinder for 2014-15.
Following a similar principle, the savings estimated for 2015-16 is Rs 6,443 crore and the total for both the years works out to Rs 21,261 crores.
“As a result of implementation of DBT for LPG (or PAHAL) mechanism, it became possible to block these 3.34 crore LPG connnections as the subsidy was transferred in the accounts of only those consumers who had registered and who have been cleared after de-duplication exercise.
“Before DBTL, all or may of these 3.34 crore consumers would have continued to purchase subsidised cylinders from the distributors. But for the blocks of these accounts, the subsidy bill would have been much higher despite fall in crude oil prices,” the statement said.
Official sources said the total consumption of cooking gas in any given year is a combination of the number of connections at the beginning of the year, bogus connections eliminated during the year through the process of DBT, new connections issued to genuine consumers during the year and normal fluctuations in individual consumption.
Hence, the saving from implementation of DBT cannot be correctly computed merely by reference to the total consumption in a year or the total expenditure on subsidy, they said.
If the DBT had not been implemented, the outgo on the subsidy would have been higher by Rs 14,818 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 6,443 crore in 2015-16, sources said.
The Rs 21,000 crore subsidy saving figure is not comparable with the actual expenditure on subsidy which
includes the subsidy on new genuine connections given during these two years.
Without implementation of PAHAL, subsidy burden would have been higher than the actual expenditure recorded during these years, even with lower petroleum prices.
Sources said the evidence of successful elimination of bogus connections is seen in the phenomenal growth of non- subsidized commercial LPG sales which have registered an increase of 39.3 per cent in the period April 2015 to March 2016.
This is in contrast to the pre-PAHAL experience when commercial sales growth was negligible or declining, they added.