Rural cooking gas distribution scheme launched


New Delhi: The petroleum ministry Friday launched a rural distribution scheme for cooking gas, named after late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

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The flagship scheme had been first announced as part of the ministry’s 100-day agenda and was launched Friday as the ministry’s “Diwali gift”.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said initially, the scheme will be launched in eight states covering 1,200 locations.

According to Minister of State for Petroleum Jitin Prasada, the scheme — Rajiv Gandhi Gramin LPG Vitrak — will help to increase the current low penetration of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) in rural areas, which is less than 20 percent. In contrast, the LPG network covers 83 percent of urban areas.

Vision 2015 paper on the LPG sector calls for penetration of cooking gas in rural areas to reach 75 percent.

As per the scheme’s salient features, the agencies will be of small size, requiring viability of 600 monthly refill sales compared to 2,500 at present.

The number of customers required for a viable agency is estimated at around 1,500 in a cluster of villages.

Interestingly, the agencies will be jointly in the names of the husband and wife. If the applicant is unmarried, an undertaking will have to given that the “spouse” will automatically become a business partner after marriage.

The age limit of applicants has been kept between 21 and 45 years to increase employment among rural youth.