Twesh Mishra Cooking gas consumers may have some cheer this month as e-commerce platform Amazon India is offering a ₹50 cashback for booking domestic LPG cylinders.

This offer gains more significance with non-Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) consumers being out of the Centre’s subsidy net for now. They have been paying the full price for refills for the past four months.

Officials from oil marketing companies said the cashback is being borne by Amazon itself and there are no discounts from the concerned PSU companies.

“As part of our commitment to our customers, Amazon Pay is constantly innovating and creating new experiences to make digital payments seamless across a variety of use cases,” said an Amazon Pay spokesperson. “We are giving our customers an option to pay digitally for daily needs such as LPG while ensuring their safety during this time. We run timely marketing promotions to encourage digital payments among customers.”

‘Timely’ discount

“The price of the cylinder has gone up significantly for us since we are not getting any subsidy from the Centre. Paying over ₹600 for a cooking gas cylinder is quite a pinch,” said an Indane consumer from Lucknow who paid ₹632 this month for a 14.2 kg LPG cylinder. His family of five consumes 8-10 cylinders a year.

“The move to attract LPG consumers is timely considering the steep hike in cooking gas prices and the elimination of subsidy for us,” said another consumer who recently availed the offer from Amazon.

But this is not the first time that cooking fuel consumers are being wooed by e-commerce websites. FreeCharge, an Indian digital marketplace for financial services, offered a 20 per cent cashback on the first gas bill payment of ₹200 or above on piped natural gas (PNG) bills back in 2016. Paytm, too, was offered a ₹25 cashback on PNG bill payments of ₹200 and above in 2017.

The government is offering free cylinders to PMUY consumers amid the pandemic. This covers some eight crore consumers.

In all, India has about 27.76 crore LPG consumers. Of these, around 1.5 crore are not eligible to get an LPG subsidy since December 2016 because they have an annual taxable income above ₹10 lakh. This leaves some 26.12 crore consumers who were eligible to get the subsidy relief from the budgetary allocations through a direct benefit transfer in their bank accounts. But, with the price of the subsidised LPG cylinder also being hiked, nearly 18 crore more consumers are now out of the support net that successive governments over the years had sustained.