State owned oil marketing companies, Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum, have set-up LPG transparency portals, offering data on the last mile delivery of domestic LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) cylinders, supplied by them to nearly 14 crore households in the country. The portal can be accessed through the official website of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas : www.petroleum.nic.in, and through respective oil marketing company websites, www.indane.co.in; www.ebharatgas.com and www.hindustanpetroleum.com.
Consumers can check their individual pattern of LPG usage, LPG booking status, LPG refill history or request to surrender their connection, consumers with highest consumption, subsidy availed etc. The information on the portal can also be filtered by consumer number, consumer name and by distributors’ name.
We tried checking our details on the Indane site and were able to track usage for a period of one year, complete with order date, delivery date, cash memo number and the amount of total subsidy availed, just by searching the name of the gas agency and filtering down to our address.
While the government expects the portals to become a tool for social audit for all domestic LPG supplies, as it will now be very easy to track LPG subsidies and report discrepancies, we feel that it’s a step towards transparency in government/public sector data, and similar initiatives should be deployed by other government departments.
Following the launch of the portal, news organisations started reporting about the misuse of LPG connections by politicians and bureaucrats who were availing subsidies meant for the common public. The portals would benefit consumers the most, as it will help them track the status of LPG cylider deliveries, in addition to allowing them to rate the services of their LPG distributor.