Minister for Petroleum, Government of India
Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
As part of a broad effort to tackle subsidy reform, the Government of India introduced one of the largest direct benefit transfer programs in the world. Designed to support consumer access to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) through cash transfers, PaHal (Pratyaksha Hastaantarit Laabh) has delivered a total of $2 billion to bank accounts belonging to 130 million households across India. The program aimed to transfer money in an inclusive, secure, and efficient manner, employing what is referred to as the JAM trinity -- Janadhan (Key to financial inclusion), Aadhaar (Key to identity) and Mobile (Key to delivery). Early studies suggest the program has achieved dramatic cost savings compared to the previous subsidy system.
Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s Minister for Petroleum joined us to speak to the program’s goals and success to date. His remarks were followed by a discussion of the potential for similar cash transfers to reduce poverty and foster economic growth, and what lessons might be learned from PaHaL.