Ration shops may soon sell small LPG cylinders and financial products

The Centre is planning to allow the sale of a small LPG cylinder of 5-kg, currently marketed by oil marketing companies (OMCs) via their retail outlets, also through the network of 5.32 lakh of ration shops as these could be effective distribution points for the targeted consumers.

In a meeting with the state governments on enhancing the financial viability of fair price shops (FPS) on Wednesday, food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey proposed the idea of selling small cylinders through these outlets, which was supported by representatives of OMCs who were also present. The PMCs assured that they would provide the necessary support to roll it out in coordination with interested states.

“The decision may help the government to deliver a subsidised cylinder to the very poor families as delivery of it can be authenticated with biometric proof as done in case of foodgrains. Even state government can provide subsidy if these cylinders are sold through ration shops as it may curb pilferage,” said an official.

In Noida, the refill of a small cylinder of 5-kg capacity costs around Rs 375 while a new one costs around Rs 1,400 which includes regulator also, a retailer said.

Urging states to take proactive measures to increase the financial viability of ration dealers, Pandey said there is a need for sensitisation on potential benefits and capacity building of FPS. Department of Financial Services assured that MUDRA loans to FPS dealers would be extended by banks for capital augmentation.

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