The government database of income tax payers and declarations by consumers have been used to block subsidy to over 7 lakh customers with above Rs 10 lakh annual income. Since the beginning of 2016, those who earn a taxable annual income of over Rs 10 lakh, or have a spouse with that income, must pay market price for cooking gas, as per the government directives.
By directly transferring subsidy to cooking gas consumers’ account, the state oil companies have been able to weed out about 3.25 crore duplicate or inactive consumers, enlarging subsidy saving. A little more than 1 crore consumers have already given up subsidy voluntarily, although they can claim it back after a year of surrender. As a result, the cooking gas subsidy fell sharply to Rs 27,571 crore in 2015-16 from Rs 76,285 crore in the previous year.