Amidst demands from within the Congress party to increase the limit on supply of subsidised LPG cylinders, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday said it was for the Petroleum Ministry to bring a proposal for raising the cap if it feels so.
"(Supply of) six (subsidised) cylinders (per household in a year) was decided by the Cabinet based on the proposal that came from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. (Now it is) for them to rework it, if they feel it needs to be reworked," he told PTI in an interview.
Consumers have to pay a rate which is more than double the subsidised price of Rs410.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder for any requirement beyond their quota of six cylinders in a year.
At the recent party conclave at Surajkund, there was a demand for raising the cap to 12 cylinders per household in a year. Even the new Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily had earlier this month admitted that the decision, taken during term of his predecessor S Jaipal Reddy, had caused hardships.
For a government which stares at the prospect of having to pay Rs80,000-100,000 crore towards fuel subsidies this fiscal, raising the cap would mean additional outgo and Chidambaram was categorical in stating that the Oil Ministry should consider finances before moving any note.
"As I said government finances are stressed at the moment. Therefore, I am sure whatever has been proposed (by the Oil Ministry) will take note of the government finances also," Chidambaram said.
Moily had earlier this month stated that there has been demand from within the Congress party as well as Opposition parties to raise the cap.
"They have gone by some arithmetic that on an average only six cylinders are enough (for a household). This is arithmetic (but) there is also a chemistry, which they have not done it," Moily had said.