India: Cooking gas prices to be halved in Rajasthan for inflation-hit poor

The state has also unveiled plans to supply households with 50 units of electricity every month for free

By Reuters

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Rajasthan's Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (Photo: ANI)
Rajasthan's Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (Photo: ANI)

Published: Tue 20 Dec 2022, 2:01 PM

India's Rajasthan — ruled by the main opposition Congress party — will halve the price of cooking gas for poor households from April, as it seeks to cushion them from the pain of high inflation ahead of local elections next year.

The country's annual retail inflation stood at 5.88 per cent in November — much higher than the central bank's target of 4 per cent, though it has eased from 6.77 per cent in October due to a softer rise in food prices.

The state is one of several to announce measures to help households in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, after food and fuel prices surged in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Late on Monday, Rajasthan's government said it would provide 12 canisters of cooking gas for Rs500 ($6) to poor families a year. One cylinder can typically sustain a family of four for a month.

"This will reduce the financial burden on the common person in this era of inflation," Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, in a tweet.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi — whose cross-country march is passing through Rajasthan — hailed the move on Twitter, and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "serve the people suffering from inflation".

The finance ministry told the parliament on Monday that it was trying to check inflation through measures like curbs on exports of wheat and rice, as well as a reduction in import duties on lentils.

Rajasthan has also unveiled plans to supply households with 50 units of electricity every month for free. Measures by other states include Uttar Pradesh's decision to cut electricity tariffs and distribute Rs1,000 (in cash) to the poor.

In 2016, Modi launched a programme giving free cooking gas connections to poor families. Energy companies controlled by the government provide the first refill free of cost to such families.


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