LPG consumers decry delay in subsidy transfers

The National Payments Corporation of India has come in for severe criticism in Kashmir with LPG consumers here accusing the undertaking of inordinately delaying the subsidy amounts.

The new LPG policy curtailed the number of subsidized LPG cylinders to the consumers and envisaged the transfer of subsidies directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries with an aim to curb misuse of domestic cooking gas.

The new policy assigned the NPCI the job of transferring the subsidy amounts to the bank accounts of the LPG consumers after they purchase gas cylinders from Oil Marketing Companies’ representatives.

However, in Kashmir, the cooking gas subscribers complain that the NPCI is “delaying our subsidy amounts for no fault of ours.”

 “It takes more than a month or two for subsidy amount to get credited into the bank account of the beneficiary here, which is not the case elsewhere in the country,” said a senior executive of LPG company operating here.

He said that as per the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, the payment must be credited to the beneficiaries account within 24 to 48 hours, but “we have observed in Kashmir it takes sometimes more than months.”

“People here unfortunately are not aware that the subsidies are being credited by NPCI not OMCs, as a result of which they blames us for delay in transfer of subsidies,” he added.

A senior executive of an OMC here said the oil companies are not responsible for transfer of back-end subsidies. “Our job is to submit consumer data and record purchase of gas,” he said, adding that it is the responsibility of National Payments Corporation of India to transfer the subsidy amount.

The NPCI is an umbrella organization for all retail payments system in India. It was set up with the guidance and support of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).

Meanwhile, the LPG consumers criticised the move of central government to hike the prices of non-subsidized LPG cylinders by Rs 50.

“Instead of ensuring that the subsidy amounts are credited to the beneficiaries’ accounts on time, the central government has increased the price of non-subsidized LPG cylinders by Rs 50, which is unjustified,” Bashir Ahmad, a Srinagar resident, said.

The consumers said instead of addressing the problems of the people, “the government is adding to their problem by increasing the prices of essential commodities like the gas.”