Aadhaar for LPG: How you can get justice? –Part2

What has changed during past 12 months that required urgent intervention from the ‘pseudo supreme’ authority of Congress to lobby for increasing the subsidised LPG cylinders to 12? Will it stop the suffering of citizens who are harassed under the pretext of Aadhaar and subsidised cylinders? Here is what you can do in the meanwhile

As mentioned in the first part, the Aadhaar, LPG refill subsidy and direct benefit transfer (DBTL) scheme is in to complete mess. The ‘larger than life’ claims made by the proponents of Aadhaar, especially IT Czar Nandan Nilekani, are falling flat in practice. Can the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) explain why people are not receiving LPG refill subsidy on time and into their own lined bank account while people not related with these are receiving SMS about LPG subsidy? The mess is created under the pretext of unique identification (UID), which was then penetrated into the LPG subsidy through banking system. All this was done without taking into consideration the issue and problems of LPG refill distribution and banking system. This has resulted in citizens suffering at the hands of LPG distributors under the pretext of Aadhaar, which is meant for residents.

 

Following the interim order issued by the Supreme Court, all three oil marketing companies (OMCs), as well as union government and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoP&NG) had sought modification of the apex court’s order of 23 September 2013. The order unequivocally directed, “no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory.” 

 

According to Justice KS Puttaswamy, the retired judge from Karnataka High Court, who had filed the public interest litigation in the Supreme Court, government schemes (of making Aadhaar mandatory) cannot be imposed upon people. Speaking with Citizen Matters, Bangalore, Justice Puttaswamy had said, "An interim order is as much as a final order. So presently all these government schemes cannot be imposed upon people. And if it is done, it is contempt of court. The interim order does not mention any names of schemes. But under this, no one can insist of Aadhaar for any government schemes like ration card, bank account, cash transfer, issue of LPG subsidies and so on."

 

Another interesting aspect of the whole Aadhaar drama is Congress and most political parties are avoiding taking a clear political position demanding scrapping of the biometric identification exercise and are speaking with forked tongue. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s speech last week is nothing but another example of bluffing. When finance minister P Chidambaram said there is a need to increase the quota for subsidised LPG refill to 12 from nine, both oil minister Veerappa Moily and oil secretary Vivek Rae were quick to rule out the hike. However, as soon as Rahul Gandhi expressed the need to increase the quota, the same Moily was quick to say that his ministry would put forward such proposal before the upcoming cabinet meeting. This shows the politicisation of LPG subsidy, especially looking at the general elections in next few months.

 

It must be noted, it was the same Manmohan Singh-led government, which capped the subsidised LPG refill quota to six cylinders per year in September 2012. Following outcry from several quarters, in January 2013, it was increased to nine cylinders. The original idea behind the cap in LPG refill cylinders was to reduce the subsidy bill of the government. If the UPA government is interested in reducing subsidy bill, then why not scrap it in one stroke, instead of playing hide and seek games with common citizens?

 

Interestingly question though, what has changed between January 2013 and January 2014 that required intervention from the ‘pseudo supreme’ authority of Congress to lobby for increasing the LPG refill per year to 12? It is nothing but vote bank politics to appease voters before the general elections.

 

Hope the same thinking would be applied in scrapping the UID/Aadhaar project as well from the Congress high command, which still reportedly has not enrolled for the scheme.

 

In a country like ours where illiteracy is rampant and the average citizen is already burdened with different cards for different purposes- voter ID card, PAN card, BPL card, the forceful linking of Aadhaar with LPG refill subsidy is only burdening the common citizen. Hope the Supreme Court takes the OMCs, Oil Ministry and the UPA government to task and put the illegal ‘Aadhaar business’ to an end.

 

Most importantly, as Moneylife has been writing, the basic issue in India and its over billion citizens are not about subsidy, but it is about demand and supply gap. Citizens are being deprives their rightful benefits because the middleman-politicians-babu nexus is siphoning off the benefits before it reaches the end user. For example, citizens from a far away village are not receiving foodgrains because of the nexus. And directly transferring subsidy money in to these people’s bank account (if they have one) is not going to ensure that the foodgrains reach the village. This is because if the foodgrains are siphoned off before reaching the village and public distribution (PDS) shop, then how and from where these poor people are going to buy it? Anyway, that is subject for another article. Here we will discuss about the LPG refill subsidy only.

 

There are basically two types of LPG customers, one who has linked their Aadhaar and bank account and two, those who have not done so.

 

Those who do not have Aadhaar:

Such customers are being flooded with SMS to enrol for Aadhaar and link it to their bank account and subsequently provide the details to their LPG distributor. However, with the interim order of the Supreme Court being in force, the LPG distributor and OMC cannot deny the rightful subsidy to the rightful customers. This means, any LPG customer, who may or may not have submitted the Aadhaar is liable to get the nine subsidised LPG refills for FY2014 (unless the OMCs increase it to 12 refills per year following the diktat from Rahul Gandhi).

 

As Moneylife wrote, in one glaring example of misuse of powers, one distributor from Hyderabad not only denied a LPG refill to a customer despite showing willingness to buy it at market rate. Going one step ahead, the distributor even blocked the connection of the customer for not providing Aadhaar.  

 

Those who have submitted Aadhaar are also facing problems:

Major issue these customers are facing is about receiving LPG refill subsidy on time and the communication. Several customers are still waiting for their subsidy to be deposited in their bank accounts. In the meanwhile, many had to buy the LPG refill at market rate that is without the subsidy. At present, the open market rate of a domestic (home use) LPG refill costs Rs1,275.5 while the subsidised refill costs Rs455. The subsidy amount in this case works out to be Rs820.5, however, the customer is getting only Rs794.84. This means he will have to pay the differential amount from his own pocket.

 

In addition, there is value added tax (VAT) and income tax that the customer will have to pay. The subsidised cost of LPG refill included all taxes, but for non-subsidised LPG cylinder the customers will have to borne the cost. In addition, since the money would be deposited in the bank account, it would be considered as ‘income from other sources’ and the customer would have to pay income tax, as per his/her obligations under appropriate slab.

 

What you can do?

Mathew Thomas, a former defence services officer and missile scientist turned civic activist, who is campaigning against state database control of the people, has already sent notices to the UIDAI, MOP&NG and all three OMCs for the contempt of Supreme Court order.

 

KP Janardan, one of the readers of Moneylife, had also sent a letter to the Chief Justice of India requesting to take suo moto action against the Oil Ministry. Pointing out toward an ad published by MoP&NG, he said, “It is worth noting that the Ministry has gone ahead and issued the said ad with impunity even after the Supreme Court had rejected a subsequent plea for a modification of Order dated 26/11/13. I would therefore request that the Supreme Court take suo moto notice of this wilful defiance of its Orders by the Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and initiate contempt proceedings against it.”

 

Similarly, if you are being deprived of your rightful subsidy for LPG refill (nine cylinders at present), you can do several things. But you need to act fast, on your own.

 

1. Write a letter (email) to your LPG distributor giving reference of the Supreme Court order and ask why you have been denied subsidy for your rightful nine refills.
 

2. Send a copy of your letter (email) to the oil marketing company like HPCL, BPCL or IOC.
 

3. Make full use of the online portals of all OMC that shows the record of your LPG booking, delivery and subsidy.
 

4. Mention in your letter that as per the Essential Commodities Act, the OMC and distributor is mandated to deliver the LPG cylinder at your home within 48 hours of booking. As most of the distributors don’t follow this, you can tell your distributor that you would file a complaint before the Consumer Forum.
 

Here are rights of consumers under the Essential Commodities Act 1955 and the corresponding LPG (Regular Supply & Distribution) Order 2000...
 

-Bookings for the gas cylinder must be accepted over the phone.

-100% home delivery.
 

-The gas cylinder should to be delivered within 48 hours of booking.
 

-The customer has the right to weigh the cylinder on taking delivery.

-Gas agencies must be open for business between 10am and 6pm, except on public holidays and Sundays.
 

5. Also inform the LPG distributor that his/her act is contempt of Supreme Court order and you would be compelled to write to the Chief Justice of India for it.
 

6. If the LPG distributor/OMC continues to act high-handedly, then write to the Chief Justice of India (with supported documents), requesting the Court to take suo moto action for contempt of court order against your LPG distributor, the OMC, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the minister of MoP&NG and last but not least, the Prime Minister. You can also include Nandan Nilekani, the chairperson o UIDAI, the UIDAI and Planning Commission (as UIDAI works under it).
 

7. Use the Right to Information (RTI) Act while perusing the matter with all the concerned as they all fall under the category of 'Public Authority' as defined under the Act. Your LPG distributor is not a public authority, but you can file RTI asking the OMC for details about the distributor. (Read: Hassled over the delay in the delivery of your gas cylinder? Try the RTI route)


Here is a sample/template for sending a letter to your LPG distributor prepared by Dr Anupam Saraph…

 

Date:

 

Your Gas Agency Name

Your Gas Agency Address

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

I am enclosing a copy of the Supreme Court Order dated 23 September 2013 indicating that no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory.

 

Your persistent demand for Aadhaar for me to claim the subsidized LPG refill cylinder entitled by me continues to cause my family suffering as I do not have an Aadhaar, do not wish to obtain one, and certainly do not want to link it with any bank account.

 

According to the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M Veerappa Moily, 'Over 14 crore people in the country have LPG connections. However, three crore among them have got connections by producing fake documents’. Clearly the 11 crore honest and law-abiding citizens do not need to be made to suffer Aadhaar numbers or bank accounts?

 

Surely you cannot be placing blind faith on using a random number assigned by the UIDAI to a set of unverified and unaudited demographic and biometric data submitted and maintained/ operated by private parties who are paid for every record they submit in preference to your own records that you seem to have audited and have used all along? What purpose does this suffering serve?

 

Surely you know that through its notification of 28 September 2011 the Reserve Bank of India suspended the “Anti-Money Laundering” Rules for bank accounts opened with Aadhaar as the sole KYC? Surely you know this makes it possible to transfer subsidy to unverified accounts operated by anyone who has hold of the Aadhaar-linked bank account? Surely you cannot want to cause people to suffer the embezzlement of their subsidy?

 

I urge you to immediately discard any linkage or use of Aadhaar with your databases and revert to the time tested practices of issuing subsidized cylinders.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Your Name

Your Consumer Number

 

CC:

  1. Chairman and Managing Director, Your Gas Company
  2. Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas
  3. Registrar, Supreme Court for the attention of the Hon’ble Judges of violation of their Orders

 

Here are the addresses…

  1. The Registrar,
    Supreme Court of India,
    Tilak Marg,
    New Delhi-110 201 (India)
    PABX NOS.23388922-24, 23388942-44,
    FAX NOS.23381508,23381584,23384336/23384533/23384447
    Email: [email protected]
  1. Veerappa Moily
    Minister,
    Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas,
    A-Wing, Shastri Bhawan,
    Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road,
    New Delhi 110 001
    Email: [email protected]
  1. Vivek Rae
    Secretary,
    Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas,
    A-Wing, Shastri Bhawan,
    Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road,
    New Delhi 110 001
    Email: [email protected]
  1. Chairman & Managing Director
    Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL)
    Bharat Bhavan No. I & II, 4&6,
    Currimbhoy Road, Ballard Estate,
    Mumbai - 400001
    http://www.bharatpetroleum.com
  1. Chairman & Managing Director
    Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL)
    HPCL, 3rd floor, Petroleum House,
    17 Jamshedji Tata Road, Churchgate,
    Mumbai - 400020
    www.hindustanpetroleum.com
  1. Chairman,
    Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC)
    SCOPE Complex, Core-2, 7, Institutional Area,
    Lodhi Road, New Delhi - 110003
    http://www.iocl.com

    For LPG at IOC…
    AN Jha
    Executive Director (LPG),
    Indian Oil Bhavan,
    G-9, Ali Yavar Jung Marg,
    Bandra (East), Mumbai
    Tel: 022-26421845
    Email: [email protected] 

 

You may also want to read…

Aadhaar for LPG: Mess created by UIDAI, OMCs and citizen victims-Part 1

 

The Prime Minister’s Fingerprints: Aadhaar and the garrotting of civil liberties

 

Aadhaar for LPG: Oil companies, Ministry of Petroleum & UIDAI disobeying Supreme Court order–Part XXII

 

Comments
Aarmin Banaji
9 years ago
The author of the article has not yet posted a specific response to the parting comment in my previous post.

It can only mean that either he does not read the viewer's comments OR he does not have a truly effective way the opponents of Aadhaar can continue the fight OR he was not being too serious by suggesting ineffectual measures.

Mr. Sapkale, would really appreciate your guidance, shared here for all to benefit.
MDT
Replied to Aarmin Banaji comment 9 years ago
Dear Sir,
Thanks for posting your comment. We appreciate the efforts put up by you for resising the Aadhaar linkage with LPG subsidy.
What you had mentioned in your previous post is related with associating your PIL with the one ongoing in the SC. And you seems to know all the legal options, so we refrained from advising you.
This article is written for common readers seeking suo moto intervention of the Chief Justice. For this you need to write separate letter as stated in the article.
Thanks again,
MDT

Harish
Replied to MDT comment 9 years ago
Subject: Request your Urgent action for "LPG DBTL" scheme without any delay.

Sir/Madam,

Please note the following points and request your Urgent action for "LPG DBTL" scheme without any delay.

1) Received on 12Feb2014 first (Forced) DBTL subsidized HP-LPG Cylinder under Cash Receipt No.175550 for Rs. 1162 amount without any breakup. (Rs. 1162 seems to be very high and manipulated.)

2) Concerned authorities adamantly-stubbornly ignored to mention in Cash Receipt, Breakup details at-least as follows,

Amount payable Rs. 1162 = Rs.423.50 + DBT Rs. 738.5

(Please Note: Actual amount for subsidized direct supply without DBTL scheme of Rs. 423.50 was obtained from Delivery Person after verifying the Cash Receipt for other Consumer.)

3) According to me the Pending DBT amount to be received will be Rs. 738.5 - Rs. 435 = Rs. 303.5 (My worked out calculation. Rs. 435 first blind DBT already received before delivery of cylinder.) Rs.303.50 or Rs.738.5

4) Received SMS intimation having transferred Rs. 730.43 towards Cash Receipt No. 175559 dated 12Feb2014.

Under my worked out calculation of Rs.738.50 – Rs. 730.43 = Rs. 8.07, has some difference. It seems I have received Rs. 8.07 less towards DBT in my account.

To avoid such confusion, to make Citizens aware of the subsidy burden by our Nation, and any manipulation through malpractice, concerned authorities should and must give complete breakup in Cash Receipt for all kind of Domestic-Non Domestic LPG Cylinder supply delivery.

Adamant, stubborn concerned authorities should Stop DBTL or make it optional, if not interested to implement proper breakup in Cash Receipt for easy verification of DBT amount and actual subsidized cost of cylinder for Consumer.

HP-Gas has not provided direct email IDs, no provision to escalate complaints. One has to fill the on line complaint under Others category, and no category for DBTL problems-issues is provided.

You are requested to do the needful and oblige.

Regards,
Harish - Bangalore
PS:
**********************************
(No proper reply to my online-complaints from HP-Gas.
http://jihaan.hpcl.co.in/booking/Complai...
Also i was unable to update Complaint Reference No. 13149857 due to continuous Server Error in HP-Gas system from 20Feb2014. Please refer HP-Gas last reply as,
GAURAV PAL (193935) - 20/02/2014 03:56 PM

Implementation is in line with ministry guidelines
Issues raised are beyond our scope to address.
**********************************
Please make urgently investigation and do needful to implement through concerned authorities for Domestic LPG supply the following:

Make Compulsory to issue all consumers complete break up details like Tax, Subsidy, DBT, etc of cash paid in Cash Receipt of Domestic LPG supply.
Presently only consolidated amount is shown without any breakup details.
**********************************
Sir/Madam,
If Aadhar is not mandatory to buy subsidized LPG cylinders, why DBTL is made mandatory for Consumers already forced to register???
DBTL also should be made optional for those Consumers who were forced to register for DBTL.
**********************************
Several similar emails sent earlier from past so many days to all the possible concerned authorities( lokayukta, Food Offices etc. but no action so far.
**********************************
Harish
Replied to Harish comment 9 years ago
**********************************
Several similar emails sent earlier from past so many days to all the possible concerned authorities( lokayukta, Food Offices etc. but no action so far.
*********************************
Aarmin Banaji
Replied to MDT comment 9 years ago
Sorry MDT you seem to have misread what I wrote/meant.

It is that only after my PIL was held as untenable (incidentally, according to TOI of 24/1/14, Page 9 of the Nagpur Edition, a similar PIL in the Madras HC a few days ago has been entertained, illustrating the inconsistency within the Judicial system), that I wrote to the CJI and SC with a simple request to take suo moto action for Contempt of Court against all Respondents. This is exactly what the author recommends, which I state is an ineffectual action.

Hence, my query still stands and hope the author can provide guidance for steps which would turn up results.
Dayananda Kamath k
9 years ago
the veerappa moily agreeing to 12 cylinders as soon as rahul gandhi dmenads it. cbinet scrapping of ordinance on his tearing it , and maharashtra cabinet reconsidering adarsh report, all this demands whether the cabinet ministers are fit and proper to run this govt. they are misusing the powers to give cheap publicity to rahul gandhi during elelction year. it is clear breach of trust by cabinet ministers.
Aarmin Banaji
9 years ago
Since September 2013 I have been fighting a lone anti-Aadhaar campaign from Nagpur. Having my PIL being asked (by the HC Bench in Nagpur) to combined with the Writ before the SC, I wrote directly to the CJ, both via email and Acknowledgement Due Speedpost, to take suo moto action against the Respondents.

The only long delayed response I received was from an Asst. Registrar, saying that under Supreme Court Rules 1966, my request was not tenable.

A lawyer friend of mine has also made a similar request to the CJI, with no response at all.

I continue to not register or take part in this crackpot Aadhaar scheme, promoted to satisfy the vaingloriousness of NN.

Hence, has the author of this article verified the efficacy of the course of action he recommends to opponents like me?
Aarmin Banaji
9 years ago
Since September 2013 I have been fighting a lone anti-Aadhaar campaign from Nagpur. Having my PIL being asked (by the HC Bench in Nagpur) to combined with the Writ before the SC, I wrote directly to the CJ, both via email and Acknowledgement Due Speedpost, to take suo moto action against the Respondents.

The only long delayed response I received was from an Asst. Registrar, saying that under Supreme Court Rules 1966, my request was not tenable.

A lawyer friend of mine has also made a similar request to the CJI, with no response at all.

I continue to not register or take part in this crackpot Aadhaar scheme, promoted to satisfy the vaingloriousness of NN.

Hence, has the author of this article verified the efficacy of the course of action he recommends to opposers like me?
S K Nataraj
9 years ago
I am in full agreement with everything that is stated in the report.
I wish to point out that Publc Sector Banks are already facing extreme difficulty in handling pension accounts and their counters are thronged by hundreds of pensioners in most branches particularly during the first week of very month. They are already burdened with having t o meet several targets- of Deposits, Advances, NPA reduction, Third Party Products, SME, Retail, and other sectors of advances part from CASA targets. I am of the opinion that at present, Banks are ill- equipped to handle the subsidy for LPG through Aadhaar linkage. Complaints are going to be plenty, and redress all will be a huge problem. I envisage a huge scam emerging if the subsidy distribution is entrusted to PSB's. Why dump the present system and resort to touching of the nose in a round-about way via the neck? We want efficiency, and clean administration. Not a messy situation where everyone would be in trouble. I hope the government listens.mit is not going to be a game- changer. It is going to be a total wreck.
nilesh
9 years ago
great article.

I want to know if I can un-register my aadhar card with the distributor ?
MDT
Replied to nilesh comment 9 years ago
Thanks for your comment.
Unfortunately there is no grievance redressal mechanisam available in the Aadhaar system of UIDAI.
Thus, only solution left is
to file complaint with your distributor, OMC and send copies to the Supreme Court and Oil Ministry. You can also file complaint online with your OMC and follow it with an RTI.
Free Helpline
Legal Credit
Feedback