GUWAHATI: Call it a move to win over the common man’s favour ahead of the 2004 LS polls or a sincere step to ease the burden of growing inflation, the Centre has slashed the prices of cooking gas (LPG) by ₹200 per cylinder for all domestic consumers.
This decision was taken during the Union cabinet meeting held on Tuesday. The cabinet also greenlit a boost to the Ujjwala scheme with an additional subsidy of ₹200. This brings the total subsidy for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) beneficiaries to ₹400 per cylinder.
The news has been welcomed with open arms, especially by the BJP-ruled states in the Northeast. Leaders from these states have hailed the move as a timely “Rakhi gift for sisters”.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took to a popular micro-blogging website to express his appreciation, stating, “What a wonderful Rakhi gift for our sisters! The ₹200 savings on LPG prices will not only enhance household savings but also have a multiplier effect on the overall economy. The decision reaffirms that empathy and empowerment are the two defining attributes of Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodiji’s governance. We are extremely grateful.”
Pema Khandu, Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, echoed similar sentiments. He also posted on the same platform, expressing his gratitude to the Prime Minister for extending support to 10.35 crore families with additional connections.
This move comes as a relief for millions of low-income families in India, particularly during a time when the country is grappling with high inflation. The government’s decision is anticipated to have a positive impact ahead of crucial state elections this year and the general election in 2024.
The enhanced subsidy will require an additional allocation of Rs 4,000 crore, supplementing the Rs 7,600 crore that was initially budgeted for the ongoing financial year. The PMUY, introduced in May 2016, has been a pivotal social welfare initiative by the government.
In a related development, the government also addressed the ongoing concerns over fuel prices. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a reduction in central excise duty on petrol by ₹8 per litre and on diesel by ₹6 per litre. This strategic move is expected to result in a decrease of ₹9.5 per litre for petrol and ₹7 per litre for diesel. However, it was noted that this decision will have a revenue implication of around ₹1 lakh crore per year for the government.