The annual average refill consumption of LPG cylinders under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) came down to 3.08 cylinders in September 2019, from 3.21 refills till December 2018 and 3.66 refills till March 2018, it has been reported. While this steady decline would financially impact the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), a recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) raised concerns on the performance of PMUY in terms of low consumption, diversions and considerable delays in distribution of cylinders.
At least 18 states are below the national average consumption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) refill cylinders of 6.25 cylinders (14.2 kg) during the 2018-19 fiscal. The report cited a recent study by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
From October 1, 2018, to September 30, 2019, the average annual refill consumptions in Andhra Pradesh was 3.34 cylinders, Assam- 2.82, Bihar- 3.31, Goa- 3.94, Gujarat- 3.96, Jammu & Kashmir-2.37), Kerala- 3.49, Madhya Pradesh- 2.35, Tamil Nadu- 3.33, Maharashtra- 3.03, Karnataka- 3.53, Odisha- 2.65, Punjab- 4.22, Rajasthan- 2.98, Uttar Pradesh- 3.28, West Bengal- 3.01, Haryana- 5.22, Delhi- 8.36 and Telangana- 2.85.
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According to the report, a declining trend in the consumption pattern is negative for OMCs as it will impact the recovery of outstanding loan of these companies. Under the PMUY, since the public sector OMCs offered deposit-free LPG connections to below poverty line households, “the upfront cost of the connection was to be recovered by the companies from the subsidy accrued on subsequent refills by the consumers.”
The Ministry has maintained that it has achieved the target of providing 8 crore deposit-free LPG connections to women belonging to poor families on September 7, 2019. After the launch of PMUY, according to the central government, the All India LPG coverage increased from 61.90% in May 2016 to 94.30% in April 2019.
Furthermore, the CAG in its latest performance audit on PMUY has raised concerns in the implementation of the scheme. While PMUY envisaged release of LPG connections in the name of women, the audit found that 1.88 lakh connections were released against males. It has also been revealed that there is “mismatch in names of 12.46 lakh beneficiaries between PMUY database and SECC-2011(Socio Economic & Caste Census (SECC) data.”
The total subsidy under sale of subsidised LPG cylinders to customers during the last three years has under PMUY, surged from Rs 2,999 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 5,683 crore in 2018-19.
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