“I say with pride that 40 lakh people have voluntarily given up their LPG subsidy,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing the Indian diaspora in Singapore on November 24, 2015.
FactChecker found that Modi underestimated the number of people who have surrendered their liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) subsidies.
As many as 5,037,181 people have given up their LPG subsidy as of November 26, 2015, according to data from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, which is 26% higher than Modi’s quoted figure.
This will lead to annual savings of Rs 806 crore for the government, considering that each consumer will use an average of eight cylinders per year with an average subsidy of Rs 200 per cylinder.
Modi launched the #GiveItUp campaign on March 27, 2015, urging citizens who can afford to pay the market price to voluntarily surrender their LPG subsidy, the savings of which would be used for providing LPG to below-poverty-line (BPL) families.
As many as 1,386,885 people had given up their LPG subsidy as of July 28, 2015, data tabled in the Parliament on August 3, 2015 revealed.
This means that, on an average, 29,741 people gave up their subsidy every day in the past four months.
The government is also planning to stop subsidy for households with an annual income of more than Rs 10 lakh, according to M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs.
“They (the government) are also planning that the consumers whose income is above Rs 10 lakh, gas subsidy will not be given. Why do they need subsidy? Why ministers need subsidy? So far, 30 lakh people have given up LPG subsidy. That subsidy will be given to poor people,” Naidu said earlier this month.
(Saha is a freelance journalist based in New Delhi.)