Food Minister K V Thomas today told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Centre's move to cap the number of subsidised LPG cylinders at six per household a year "will not go well" with middle class and suggested a slab system with a marginal hike in price for extra cylinders.
Thomas, who also holds the portfolio of Consumer Affairs Ministry, in a letter to the Prime Minister has suggested that the government should charge only Rs 50 extra for consumers seeking between seven and 12 LPG cylinders per household in a year and Rs 150 extra for 13 to 24 cylinders.
Any requirement beyond 24 cylinders per year, the Minister has recommended that the government should not give any subsidy and charge the market price.
"The decision to raise diesel price as well as to keep number of subsidised cooking as at six a year though essential for bettering economy, will not go well with middle class. In this connection, I would like to suggest a sort of slab system needs to be thought of," Thomas said.
"This would give an impression that the government is considering hardship of common man and also that the people are made to be mentally prepared for further increase in prices," he said.
In the letter, the Minister however praised the government's decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail.
Last week, the government decided that each household will get six cylinders of 14.2-kg per annum at the subsidised rate of Rs 399 and any requirement beyond that would have to be procured at the market rate of Rs 746 per bottle.
It also that said any number of LPG cylinders will be available at the market rate over the capped number of six.