Rajasthan becomes only state in India to offer gas cylinders at Rs 500
Ashok Gehlot government's move to offer gas cylinders at reduced cost aids inflation-weary citizens
At a time when people are battling inflation and finding it hard to make both ends meet, the Rajasthan government has brought much needed relief for citizens by providing 12 LPG cylinders per year at Rs 500 each.
At present, Rajasthan is the only state in the country to provide gas cylinders at this price. As of now, the scheme is only for families in the below poverty line (BPL) category in Rajasthan, or those who buy LPG cylinders under the union government's Ujjwala scheme.
The subsidised cylinders to over 70 lakh consumers will place an additional burden of about Rs 3,300 crore on the state government every year.
At present, a cylinder is generally available in Rajasthan for around Rs 1050. In such a situation, from 1 April, 2023, families of these two categories are able to get gas cylinders at less than half the cost.
The price of domestic gas cylinders has more than doubled since the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was introduced. As a result, the beneficiary families are finding it hard to refill their cylinders every month.
Officials said over 70 lakh consumers received cylinders under the Ujjwala scheme at the rate of Rs 850 per cylinder in Rajasthan, since Ujjwala consumers get a subsidy of Rs 200 from the Centre. And 6 lakh consumers are registered in the BPL category, distributed between the major LPG providers.
Which means over 6 lakh consumers in the BPL category get gas at the normal rate of Rs 1050 per cylinder in Rajasthan. They do not even get Rs 200 subsidy under the Ujjwala scheme. The new scheme is estimated to directly affect about 2.25 crore people.
Earlier, state minister Pratap Singh Khachariawas said that the government wants to give benefits to all those people who have been "cheated" in the name of Ujjwala. "You get a cylinder only once and then you have to pay the full amount. We will give this cylinder to Ujjwala and BPL people for Rs 500. The rest of the money will be given by the state government from its own pocket to the central government. We want to reduce the burden of the public." he said.
It was Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot's big-ticket promise to make cooking gas cylinders available at Rs 500, which came into effect recently, barely six months before assembly elections in Rajasthan. The move was well-received by the state's women, who were known to support the BJP, especially during the Lok Sabha elections after the PMUY was launched.
This is the biggest cooking gas subsidy being given in the country — crucial for the Congress in a state like Rajasthan that has a long tradition of voting out the incumbent for over three decades.
This first big-ticket promise was made by the Ashok Gehlot government in December last year. The next one was made soon after — 100 units of free power to every family. In February, the government also raised the coverage amount of its flagship health scheme, Chiranjeevi Swasthya Bima Yojana, from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 25 lakh per year per family
“Rajasthan has become a model state of the country in every field including social security, education, medical, health, information technology, women empowerment and employment. Rajasthan is the only state in the country to provide right to health by enacting a law including free treatment up to Rs 25 lakh and accident insurance of Rs 10 lakh, free medicines and check-up facilities under Chief Minister Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme," Gehlot recently said.
"World class institutes like IIT, IIM, NIFT are open in the state. Insurance of milch animals, 125 days employment guarantee is being given to the weaker sections under Annapurna Food Kit, Chief Minister Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Indira Gandhi Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme. Remarkable work has been done in every field in the state,” he added.
Gehlot said, "We are taking suggestions and advice from 1 crore people in 'Rajasthan Mission-2030'." He asked the LPG gas distributors to send their suggestions to Mission-2030.