November 14, 2011

LPG subsidy and graft

Couple of months back, I was shocked at a Cabinet proposal to limit subsidy to LPG consumers, to 4 per year and charge Rs 800/cylinder for anything beyond that! While, my consumption is exactly 4 cylinders/year (so, I would remain unaffected), I was aghast at the steep hike. I was very glad the plan was shelved and the government didn't want to beome more unpopular than it is already.

But I am now convinced such a proposal be implemented with immediate effect!! Let me explain my change of mind: a very casual conversation with my cook and maid revealed that both of them booked a cylinder every 21 days and sold it at double their cost! Their consumption was 8 per year. Their argument was that if they didn't do it, the gas agency would pocket the cash anyway, by booking through their accounts! I guess I am doubly shocked that my helpers are indulging in unethical practices and also because it has become so widespread..

While I know that corruption and black market in LPG thrives due to subsidy, I am really shocked at how rampant and widespread the problem is!! I guess knowing it at a theoretical level and coming across it personally has freaked me out completely. I am now convinced that such a move to limit refills to consumers will check this rampant corrupt practice. Those who ought to be buying LPG at commercial rates, but buy in black, better start paying for their business.

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