Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to provide three additional subsidised LPG cylinders to those with an annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh. The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting. The three subsidised cylinders will be in addition to the six cylinders to be provided by the Centre. The central government has put a cap on the number of subsidised cylinders at six.
Congress had asked its state governments to provide three additional subsidised cylinders as a relief to the common man. There was a lot of debate on who should benefit from the subsidies. If the subsidies were to cover all sections of the society, the burden on the state exchequer would have been Rs 2,400 crore per year, state government had said.
A war of words had broken out between the ruling Congress and NCP over the delay in taking the decision. NCP blamed Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, while Chavan pointed out that Food and Civil Supplies department was with NCP, as was the Finance Department. NCP was quick to claim credit for the decision. Party spokesman Nawab Malik said it was because of the NCP's efforts.
Last week, Sharad Pawar's party had warned the government that it would take to the streets if the decision did not come within a week. Government sources said that 1.47 crore families in the state will get the benefit of additional subsidised cylinders. The total annual burden on the government would be around Rs 1,100 crore.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council and BJP leader Vinod Tawde criticised the government for restricting the benefit, demanding that 12 subsidised cylinders should be provided to all the ration-card holders.
Maharashtra Congress chief Manikrao Thakre gave the credit for the decision to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and said it affirmed the party's motto 'Congress ka haath aam aadmi ke saath' (Congress always with the common man).