The government of India has come up with an innovative strategy for the distribution of LPG (cooking gas) in order to bring down the burden of subsidizing it. Great, but why Mayapur Voice readers have to get into it? Let me tell you why. In my view Mayapur community is a miniature version of a country where we find people from all walks of life, from different cultures and with different social standings. To effectively deal with their diverse necessities, Mayapur needs to employ successful policies adopted by different governments around the world while keeping its focus on serving, instead of on controlling. This can make a significant difference.
According to a news published on The Economic Times, “”the oil ministry has directed state refiners and explorers to urge their employees, about a lakh in all, to volunteer for the “opt out of subsidy” campaign and pay market rates for the fuel, government and industry officials said. IndianOil and Bharat Petroleum Corporation have promptly initiated the move. Eventually, it is expected to be launched in all state-owned firms, which employ a total of 1.8 million people.”
“The chairman is the first among five executives to relinquish LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) subsidy and his name appears in the ‘Scroll of Honour’ at the Bharatgas website,” a company executive said. The oil ministry said 100 executives had already volunteered.”, the news said.
The interesting point here is, instead of forcing the people to pay more or imposing additional taxes on wealthy citizens, the government has chosen to inspire them to voluntarily give up the subsidy in order to allow poor people to avail it more easily. Not only that, the government has encouraged its own officers to do it first and set an example for others to follow. This, indeed, is commendable, and leaves no possibility of protest by the opposition parties or the public.
What we can adopt from this news is not the strategy itself but the concept behind it – Inspire, not enforce.
The petroleum ministry said on Friday that over 100 employees of the threestate owned oil marketing companies have voluntarily given up LPG subsidy.
“This will help in expanding LPG coverage in rural areas and will be a gift of good health to women and children who are exposed to high indoor pollution by use of dirty fuels. It demonstrates care and concern for the less privileged brethren and will go a long way to others to join the movement of nation building by giving up subsidy,” said the ministry.
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan personally congratulated all these employees by sending a personal letter and has exhorted all the citizens who can afford market priced LPG to join this movement.
“The LPG subsidy can be given up by visiting the distributor and giving a written request to this effect. Very shortly this facility will be made available via the web also. Let us all join hands in nation building,” said the petroleum ministry. Oil marketing companies suffer an under-recovery of Rs 449 per subsidised LPG cylinder. In Delhi a subsidised LPG cylinder costs Rs 414 per bottle and non-subsidised LPG cylinder comes at Rs 922.50.
PSU oil marketing companies are expected to incur an under-recovery of Rs 1,07,850 crore on the sale of diesel, LPG and kerosene.
The government has devised an innovative strategy to cut cooking gas subsidy without igniting protests. Well-off people can contribute to fiscal prudence by opting out of the subsidy on a website, which will in effect embarrass the rich who want to hang on to sops