ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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LPG Subsidies

When we relocated to India a few years ago, our biggest worry was not bijli, sadak, or paani, but cooking gas. Most of our upper-middle-class neighbours appeared to benefit from subsidised LPG at half the market price and we were told that we too could get it easily…for a “facilitation fee” at the ration card office! But nothing had prepared us for the sheer scale of abuse of LPG subsidies, which cost the nation Rs 21,772 crore in 2010-11 and had more than doubled to Rs 46,458 crore in 2013-14.

The state of Karnataka, for example, estimated in 2012 that 25% of its LPG connections were “ghosts”. An overeager minister tried to link LPG to electricity meters, but over 22% of the consumers refused to come forward despite numerous extensions. As it turned out, a miffed LPG mafia issued death threats against the minister and the initiative was abruptly terminated under pressure from cabinet colleagues presumably linked to the LPG trade.

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