83 lakh people voluntarily gave up LPG subsidy: Pradhan

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March 9: Stressing that the government was committed towards reforming the subsidy structure, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday said that 83 lakh people had voluntarily given up their LPG subsidy so far.

Answering a question about whether the government would accept the Kirit Parikh Committee’s recommendations on reducing subsidy burden, Pradhan said the Prime Minister had already urged the affluent class to give up their LPG subsidy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi started the ‘Give it up’ campaign in March last year and, as on date, 83 lakh people, including the middle class and retired, have given up their LPG subsidy, he added.

“We are very clear that subsidy should be targeted and we are committed towards reforming it,” Pradhan said.

Asked whether benefits of declining natural gas prices was being passed on to the consumer, Pradhan said that LPG cylinders were already subsidised.

He said the government will provide five crore LPG connections on concessional rates in the name of women from below poverty line (BPL) families over three years till 2018-19.

Asked about flood relief packages for Puducherry, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said a High Level committee, chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, was looking into the issue. He said that for union territories, a Disaster Response Fund was also being created to deal with such calamities.

Regarding relief to fishermen, farmers and daily workers affected by floods in Tamil Nadu, Rijiju said state governments had to project such issues and the Centre could then act on them as per the rules of the Finance Commission.

On the damage in Puducherry due to the floods, Rijiju said two persons had died and 1,035 cattle heads perished. The floods also destroyed 4,327 houses.

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