October 01

If you delink Aadhaar, oil firms will need bank account details again for gas subsidy

New Delhi: Cooking gas consumers wishing to delink Aadhaar from their bank account after the Supreme Court verdict on the biometric identity will have to provide their bank account details again to oil companies to keep subsidy flowing in, according to oil company executives.

Aadhaar is essential to receive cooking gas subsidy but linking the unique ID to bank account is not, according to the court judgment. 

So a customer wanting to receive subsidy must submit to an oil company her Aadhaar details that would get linked to her consumer ID. At the same time, she has the freedom to get her Aadhaar delinked from her bank account.

If she were to do the latter, she can potentially block the payment route for herself as about three-fourths of all consumers receive their subsidy via the co-called Aadhaar payment bridge.

Under the Aadhaar payment bridge, subsidy directly goes to the Aadhaar linked bank account of a customer with the oil company not necessarily knowing the customer’s bank account details. By delinking Aadhaar from bank account, a customer bars this payment route. 

But she can still avail the cooking gas subsidy by providing oil company the details of her bank account in which benefit should go via NEFT, or national electronic fund transfer, an oil company executive said.

About 15 per cent of country’s 24 crore customers already receive payment through the NEFT route since they haven’t yet linked their bank accounts with Aadhaar. They are eligible for subsidy as they have given Aadhaar to oil companies for linking with their respective consumer ID.

Executives said oil companies incur similar transaction fee in both payment routes and can easily shift to NEFT. Customers, however, will have to submit their account details again to companies, they said.

Aadhaar has been central to the government’s direct cash transfer plan for cooking gas and helped identify bona fide consumers and cut out more than one subsidised connections to a consumer. Aadhaar enabled easier and speedier way of verifying consumer data, executives said.

The unique ID database for cooking gas consumers also helped states cut down on subsidised kerosene consumption as they could now easily identify consumers receiving both benefits, executives said.

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