After the initial success of direct benefit transfer scheme (DBTL), the Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) has shifted its focus to rural markets with the appointment of new distributors at block levels to tap into the growing demand.
KK Gupta, director marketing of BPCL said, “We have identified rural pockets and have started appointing distributors at block levels to give as many new connections as possible. Around 30 percent to 40 percent of new distributor appointments are happening in rural areas. The DBTL would ensure that benefits reach the right consumers and after the initial success, we are hopeful more and more rural population would benefit.’’
The company is in discussions with various state governments and working on several schemes to reach to the remotest corners of the country. The adoption of LPG would also help people adopt cleaner technology, as it is more eco-friendly as compared to using cow dung and wood for cooking purpose, the official added.
BPCL expects cooking gas demand to grow by six to nine percent for the financial year 2015-16 on the back of lower prices and increasing focus on rural outreach.
There are around 5.5 crore rural consumers of LPG and last year nearly 50 lakh new customers were added in the rural areas by the industry.
The company expects that the DBTL scheme that registered around 10-12 percent savings since its introduction last year, would help the subsidy to reach the right people and prompt the rich to give up subsidy in the long run. As many as 6.5 lakh households out of a total of 15 crore have stopped availing the subsidies, leading to savings of Rs 300 crore since the DBTL was launched.
Last fiscal year, the country imported 8.33 million tonnes of LPG while the total consumption was 18.2 million tonnes. In the previous financial year, imports stood at 6.61 million tonnes and total demand at 16.29 million tonnes.
The direct benefit transfer scheme for LPG was launched on November 15, 2014, and more than 130 million consumers across 676 districts are covered under the scheme. The plan was to cover the entire 160 million consumers by March end in one of the biggest direct benefit schemes anywhere in the world. However, it would take some more time before the remaining 30 million consumers are covered.