The government has extended till September-end the time by which poor women wishing to avail of free cooking gas (LPG) connections must apply for the unique 12-digit biometric identification number Aadhaar. The government had in March this year mandated that anyone not having Aadhaar but desirous of availing free LPG connection under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana must apply for it by May 31. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas yesterday issued a gazette notification extending that deadline to September 30.The government had in October last year made the unique identification number mandatory for everyone to get LPG subsidies. In March this year it was extended for free cooking gas connections to women of BPL households. “A beneficiary desirous of availing the benefits under the Scheme (PMUY), who does not possess the Aadhaar number or has not yet enrolled for Aadhaar shall have to apply for Aadhaar enrollment by 31st May, 2017, provided she is entitled to obtain Aadhaar,” the notification issued on March 6 had said.In yesterday’s notification, the ministry said: “The figures, letters and word ’31st May, 2017′, the figures, letters and word ’30th September, 2017′ shall be substituted.” The government had last year launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to provide 5 crore poor women with free LPG connections in three years with a view to providing clean cooking fuel. So far over 2.6 crore free connections have been provided. “Individual beneficiary desirous of availing the benefits under the scheme (PMUY) is hereby required to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo Aadhaar authentication,” said the March 6 gazette notification.Those below poverty line (BPL) women looking to avail free LPG connection but do not have the Aadhaar number, have been asked to apply for it by September 30. Once enrolled for Aadhaar, the beneficiary can apply for free LPG connection by providing the enrollment ID slip or a copy of such a request.Such application will have to be accompanied by one of the government identification documents like bank passbook with photograph, election voter ID, ration card, permanent account number (PAN), passport, driving licence, kisan photo passbook or a certificate of identity having a photo issued by a gazetted officer on an official letterhead, it said.The ministry has asked state-owned fuel retailing firms to facilitate enrollment of beneficiaries for biometric identification number, Aadhaar. The government currently gives 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg each at subsidized rates per household in a year. The subsidy on every cylinder is transferred in advance directly into bank accounts of individuals, who then buy the cooking fuel at market rates.
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