No DBT for cylinders to 31 lakh women due to banking issues; 7.5 cr benefit

​​A ministry spokesperson told ET, “There are 31 lakh PMUY consumers to whom the money could not be transferred through the direct benefit transfer (DBT) due to various issues such as Aadhar not linked with the bank accounts, KYC pending at the ba...

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NEW DELHI: Four months after the government unveiled a Rs 1.7 lakh crore relief package to protect the poor from the economic impact of the lockdown, 31 lakh women eligible for free LPG cylinders have not got the benefit owing to non-operational bank accounts.

So far, Rs 9,670 cr have been transferred into the bank accounts of about 7-7.5 cr Ujjwala beneficiaries from April to June, as per ministry statistics. When the programme had been rolled out, the problem was more acute with 76.47 lakh women unable to get the benefit between April and June.

On March 26, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, which included a major initiative of providing free gas cylinders to the poor under Ujjwala. The provision of free cylinders was made for three months from April to June — which meant three cylinders for 8.03 cr Ujjwala beneficiaries or 24 cr free cylinders.


The statistics of ministry of petroleum and natural gas reveal that 12.64 crore refills have reached against this target and the benefit is yet to reach 31 lakh women. As per the plan, the three oil marketing companies— IOCL, HPCL and BPCL – had to transfer money directly into the bank accounts of Ujjwala beneficiaries for three months.

A ministry spokesperson told ET, “There are 31 lakh PMUY consumers to whom the money could not be transferred through the direct benefit transfer (DBT) due to various issues such as Aadhar not linked with the bank accounts, KYC pending at the banks or accounts closed or inactive.”

ET had filed separate applications in July under Right to Information (RTI) Act with the three OMCs seeking information on failed and successful bank transfers to the beneficiaries. According to information provided under RTI, the number of unsuccessful bank transfers was to the tune of 76.47 lakh between April 1 and June 29 – the initial period during which free LPG had to be provided. The most number of unsuccessful bank transfers were reported by HPCL at 72.96 lakh (April 1 to June 27), followed by IOCL at 2,58,746 (April 1 to July 29) and BPCL at 92,331 (April 1 to August 8).
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When asked about the difference between ministry’s statistics of 31 lakh unsuccessful transfers and 76.47 lakh provided by OMCs, a spokesperson told ET, “This is because of the time difference. The data provided under RTI Act pertains to the initial phase of the programme.” After the government came across this number of unsuccessful bank transfers, it approached the Cabinet to extend the programme beyond June. On July 8, Cabinet approved extension of this scheme till September to enable poor women beneficiaries of Ujjwala time to avail the unclaimed LPG cylinders.

The ministry told ET in a written reply that OMCs have been making concerted efforts to assist these customers to resolve their issues with the banks.
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