Subsidy, Unique Identity and You - The LPG Subsidy Leakage Conundrum 

The Economic Times, Bangalore on 6 July 2011, carried a headline, which is the title of this article. UIDAI and the Government have appear to have assumed that duplicate identities are used to siphon away subsidies. The Karnataka State Government has been active in a quixotic exercise to eliminate LPG subsidies. Consumers were asked to provide electric meter numbers, called RR numbers. This interesting because LPG consumers already have a number - the consumer number - to identify them. LPG cylinders are delivered at the residence of the consumers. The logic of how another number would eliminate what is termed "illegal connection", is absurd. The Government, as usual, has not made public their logic.  

For eliminating LPG subsidy leaks, is it necessary to link consumers to numbers or other forms of identification? Inherent in this line of reasoning, is the silly assumption that consumers are those who are responsible for siphoning the subsidies. It would be a simple matter to investigate where the and how the leak is taking place. Why has this not been done? Why proceed on assumptions? 

Would it not be possible to simply check the consumption pattern to see who swiping the subsidies? After all, a normal household would consume less than a cylinder in a month. Any monthly consumption of several cylinders should be treated as suspicious and investigated. Would it not be simple to do so? "Elementary, My dear Watson", Sherlock would have remarked.

Why is this not being done? When common sense is discarded, by UIDAI and the governments at the Center and State, one needs to look behind the smokescreens. As the smoke is cleared, one would see that UIDAI and these governments have some other agenda, other than preventing leakages. What this agenda is, is the million dollar question.