'PAHAL' facility for LPG consumers in Maharashtra

Mumbai: Aiming to curb pilferages, Maharashtra government will be depositing cash subsidy to LPG consumers directly into their bank accounts under a new scheme 'PAHAL' that will enable consumers to buy the cooking gas at market rates.

"The government has launched a scheme called 'PAHAL' (Direct Benefit transfer of LPG, DBTL) where consumers will have to pay the full amount for cylinders at the time of buying and the cash equivalent to the difference between the current subsidised rate and the market price will be transferred directly into their bank accounts," Shweta Singhal, Controller of Rationing and Director of Civil Supplies, told reporters here.

"It was very difficult to keep a track on fake LPG users, who used bogus means to avail the subsidy provided by the Central government. Now, a person can avail subsidy only once and cannot have multiple fake connections with gas agencies.

This will save us a lot of money," she said without divulging the amount that the government is looking to save through the scheme.

Singhal said consumers who wish to join the scheme will have to either link their Aadhaar number, LPG consumer number to their bank accounts or in case if they do not possess Aadhaar number, consumers will have to link their bank account directly with their 17 digit LPG Id.

"A consumer will need to fill up a small form that can be availed at their respective gas agencies and at ration offices. One copy of the form needs to be given to the gas agency and the other to the bank," Singhal said, adding that a 3-month window period will be left open for consumers to start availing the facility.

"In between the three months whenever the consumer links his account with the bank, minus the subsidised money, the rest will be transferred to the consumers' bank account," she said.

Mumbai city and suburban Mumbai currently have a total of 58.5 lakh LPG consumers while Thane has 17.5 lakh consumers and out of these, roughly 40 per cent have already submitted the forms, Singhal said.

The ambitious plan, was launched by the previous UPA government in June 2013 but was abruptly stopped earlier last year following court orders.

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