New Delhi: With the cap on subsidised LPG cylinder set to put an additional burden of over Rs 600 crore in executing the mid-day meal scheme, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has asked the Petroleum Ministry to continue providing cooking gas at subsidised rates for the programme this fiscal.
"It might be preferable at this point to provide for subsidy as earlier for LPG cylinders, instead of seeking approval for an increase in cooking cost which would necessitate revisiting allocation for the mid-day meal scheme and seeking Parliamentary approvals for the increased allocation," Sibal said in a letter to Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy.
The ministry has projected that with the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders, the expenditure on LPG would jump from Rs 653 crore to Rs 1,306 crore annually, which would be 11.6 per cent of the total allocation for the mid-day meal programme.
For the current year, the total allocation for the programme is Rs 11,937 crore.
Noting that the cap on LPG at this stage would burden the Centre to compensate the states for the increased cooking fuel cost, he has suggested the decision on whether to make an exception for the scheme could be revisited at the time of finalising the 2013-14 budget.
Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Nagaland, Haryana, Tripura, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli are some of the states and union territories where more than 60 percent of the schools are using LPG cylinders.
The current usage for the country as a whole stands at about 40 percent.
The cooking cost comprises 60 percent of the total recurring cost of the scheme.