Mumbai: Targeting to add 10 crore new LPG connections in next three years, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan Sunday said oil marketing companies are mulling to sell new cooking gas on an EMI basis, just like for other consumer durables.
"We want to sell new LPG connections which cost up to Rs 3,400 on an EMI basis. The amount can be spread over 24 installments and the OMCs are speaking to banks on this," Pradhan said at an event here.
He said till now, consumer durable items have been sold using the EMI (earnest monthly installment) facility and making such a facility available will incentivise more people to switch over to the cleaner liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Pradhan, the minister of state with an independent charge, said at present below poverty line families get 50 percent rebate on the new connections and the EMI will be helpful for those who are not covered under it.
He said a slew of efforts are being undertaken to make people switch to LPG and also announced that the ministry is targeting to add 10 crore new connections by December 2018 to the existing 16.5 crore connections.
In 2016, the ministry aims to appoint 10,000 new LPG distributors, he said, adding that all the members of Parliament have been asked to suggest potential locations in their constituencies where the distribution needs to be strengthened.
He was speaking after launching an online payment facility for refilling LPG cylinders, through which people can book the cylinder around the clock and it can be delivered in their absence as well because the payment is already done.
Plans are also underway to install touch screen devices at prominent locations like airports, railway stations etc where consumers can book for their LPG refills, he said.
With the Payments Banks set to be a reality soon, Pradhan said his ministry is also assessing if the network of 75,000 petrol pumps and LPG distribution offices can act as a touch point for the new banks.
The OMCs transferred Rs 26,000 crore in subsidy under the direct benefit transfer scheme was put into bank accounts last year, while 65 lakh people have voluntarily given up the subsidies on the appeals made by the government.
Pradhan also took pot-shots at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for alleging that the government was favouring a select few industrialists.
Dismissing the allegation, he said it is interesting that the Congress, under whose rule we witnessed scams like the 2G spectrum and coal, is levelling such charges.
The minister further said the NDA government has started allocating of spectrum and coal blocks through transparent auctions and does not favour any particular business house.