NEW DELHI, March 27: Prime Minister rendra Modi today appealed to the well-off people to give up subsidised cooking gas, saying the decision to surrender LPG subsidy by 2.8 lakh consumers will result in savings of Rs 100 crore. "I had made a small mention about giving up LPG subsidy. As many as 2.8 lakh people have responded positively...and this will lead to a saving of at least Rs 100 crore. This Rs 100 crore can be utilised for the welfare of poor", he said while speaking at the ‘Urja Sangam’ in New Delhi on Friday. Observing that 12 crore bank accounts under the Jan Dhan scheme were opened in 100 days, he said that this “Jan Dhan has become Jan Shakti” with the government transferring subsidies directly into these accounts to LPG consumers which has helped in plugging leakages and effectively fighting corruption. Since the government started the new scheme of direct benefit transfer (DBT) for cooking gas, several persons opted out of the subsidy scheme.
The Prime Minister also spoke about oil companies’ plans to increase piped cooking gas connection to one crore households from 27 lakh currently in the next four years. Referring to India’s 77 per cent dependence on energy imports, he said the effort should be to reduce it by 10 per cent by 2022, when the country will celebrate 75 years of Independence. Pointing out that the country needs to increase domestic energy output to reduce dependence on fuel imports, Modi said, “If we become successful in reducing import by 10 per cent in 2022, by achieving 10 per cent growth in domestic production, then I can assure you that by 2030 we can reduce this import to 50 per cent.”
Recalling initiatives taken by the government in the energy sector, the Prime Minister said diesel prices have been deregulated and 5-kg cylinder was launched for the benefit of poor as well as the students. The government was also encouraging blending of ethanol with petrol as it would some relief to the sugar sector which is facing glut. Farmers will be encouraged to use barren land to grow jethropha which is used in manufacturing biodiesel. Modi said he hoped that the country’s young population and his government’s focus on skill development would help in dealing with the challenges in the energy sector.