New Delhi, Oct 9, 2013 (PTI): Having made Aadhaar mandatory for receiving subsidised cooking gas (LPG) in 19 districts, Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily today said the unique identification card will no longer be a must for giving subsidises unless cleared by the Supreme Court.
The Oil Ministry is implementing the scheme for transfer of LPG subsidy in cash to bank accounts of actual consumers in 97 districts of the country with a view to eliminating diversions and plug leakages.
The Aadhaar platform, which provides a resident is a 12-digit unique number after recording bio metric information like fingerprints and iris, is being used to implement the the cash transfer scheme.
"Aadhaar is only an identification card. We will not make it mandatory unless Supreme Court gives a clearance," Moily told reporters here.
The Supreme Court in an interim order had said that the Aadhaar number cannot be not made mandatory for people to avail any government services and nobody should be deprived of any such facilities for the want of the card.
The direct cash transfer for LPG started on June 1 in 19 districts. The government gave three-month grace period to enable consumers to get Aadhaar card and seed it in their bank accounts. After the expiry of this period, cash subsidy is being provided only to consumers who have Aadhaar cards.
The scheme will be implemented in phases in 97 districts acrsoo the country. A senior official in the ministry said Aadhaar has been helpful in eliminating duplicate consumers. A scrutiny of the 50 lakh consumers in the 19 districts of Phase-1 unearthed as many as 45,000 consumers who had two subsidised LPG gas connections under different names and addresses from different companies but had one Aadhaar number.
"We intend to block one connection of these 45,000 consumers which will help save Rs 23 crore in subsidy annually," the official said. So far, 5.3 million consumers have been given Rs 500 crore of cash subsidy and the scheme will continue to rollout as planned.
"Our understanding of the Supreme Court order is that the court has not stopped or banned direct benefit transfer on LPG till the next date of hearing which is on October 22. So, Aadhaar will continue to be the sole premise for availing subsidy in the 19 districts," the official said.