LPG cap to be raised to 9 cylinders

Cabinet to decide on increase following the furore over limiting subsidised LPG cylinders to just 6 per year.

NEW DELHI: Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M Veerappa Moily on Tuesday said that the government is considering raising the cap on supply of subsidised LPG bottles from six to nine cylinders per household per year.

He said that the final decision in this regard will be taken by the Union Cabinet soon.

The government had recently rationed LPG cylinders to only six per family per year. Those families that require more than six cylinders in a year would have to pay almost Rs 950 per cylinder.

The issue of a cap on LPG cylinders had become a political hot potato with the Opposition members cornering the government in the Lok Sabha recently, demanding that the decision be rolled back since it hurt the common man who is already crushed under the weight of rising prices.

On December 4, Jagadambika Pal, a Congress MP, had embarrassed the government in the Lok Sabha by criticising the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders.

Moily said that the government, mindful of the hardships faced by common man, had decided to consider the increase in the cap.

The government had said that a sum of almost Rs 164,000 crore is paid by it to subsidize cooking gas cylinders and thus there was a need to put a cap on subsidized LPG bottles.

Moily said as the capping decision had been taken by the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, it would also decide on raising the cap.

Questioned on a time-frame for the decision, he said: "I think as early as possible."

The government will be required to provide an additional Rs.9,000 crore per annum if the subsidy limit is raised.

The petroleum minister said the government was working on a "certain formula" to neutralise the impact of any additional subsidy burden, and he has had two rounds of discussions with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on the issue.

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