Household LPG price raised again but no govt plan to restore subsidy

NEW DELHI: The cost of domestic cooking gas (LPG) refills crossed Rs 1,000 in Delhi — where traditionally rates are lower than most of the states — and rose by Rs 3.50 elsewhere after the government raised prices for the second time in May on Thursday, even as top government functionaries ruled out restoration of subsidy for now.

After the latest increase, a 14.2-kg refill will cost Rs 1,003 in Delhi, Rs 1,002 in Mumbai, Rs 1,029 in Kolkata and Rs 1,018 in Chennai. Rates will vary by a few rupees within this range in other states because of difference in local levies. LPG rates were last raised by Rs 50 each on May 7, pushing consumer prices of refills beyond Rs 1,000 in most of the country, while it stood just 50 paise short of the mark in Delhi.

The latest increase is the third since March 22 this year. Though it is not a substantial jump, the latest revision will intensify the sense of agony among consumers already struggling with high cost of transport fuels, edible oils and other condiments.

The government had scrapped LPG subsidy since May 2020, taking advantage of fall in global energy prices due to the pandemic but is in no mood to restore the support when the cost of refills have hit record levels.

“The international prices of LPG has shot up 37% in one month, while domestic (cylinder) prices have risen 11%. Subsidies is not good economics and cannot be there forever. They must have a downward curve and an expiry date. Otherwise, we will end up in a situation — like it is happening in Sri Lanka — where we don’t have money to provide fuel to people,” the functionary said requesting anonymity.

He insisted that the government is providing subsidy to the needy and giving relief by supplying three free LPG cylinders during the pandemic and continuing free food grains supply under the PM Garib Kalayan scheme, while vaccination is being given free of cost.

“What are the three free LPG cylinders during the he pandemic given to the Ujjwala ( a scheme envisaging free connection for poor housholds) connection holders if not subsidy? One must realise money is also needed for other welfare schemes and vaccination,” the person said.

Domestic LPG prices were held steady since October 6, 2021, when prices were raised by Rs 15 per cylinder. The freeze was lifted on March 22 when prices were raised by Rs 50. Household LPG price stood at Rs 714 on January 1, 2020 in Delhi. It went up to Rs 858 in February that year but subsequently came down twice but remained north bound till the freeze in October 20201.