Economic Times: February 08, 2017
New Delhi: India has become the second-largest domestic LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) consumer in the world due to the Central government's rapid rollout of clean fuel plan for poor households and fuel subsidy reforms.
LPG consumption by households has reached 19 million tonnes, registering an annual growth rate of 10%.Consumption is expected to rise 20 million tonnes, backed by expanding consumer base in urban areas and rapid rollout of the `Ujjwala' scheme for providing LPG connections free of cost to five crore poor households by 2019.
The Ujjwala scheme has turned India into an example for energy experts from other emerging economies still struggling to provide clean fuel to their rural folks. No wonder the World LPG Association (WLPGA) -so far focused on developed economies -has chosen to hold its Asia summit in Delhi.
Barely nine months after being launched by the PM in May 2016, the scheme has covered 1.6 crore poor households, topping the target set for the entire 2016-17 financial year on the back of a massive rural outreach push. “It simply beats me how they achieved this,“ WLPGA Yagiz Eyuboglu told a curtain-raiser session on Monday in a compliment to oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
“When we assumed office, we had a system of misdirected subsidies, rich and uppermiddle class were entitled to LPG subsidies. There were many duplicate connections and the subsidized LPG was diverted to commercial and industrial segments. As a result poorest of the poor never had access to LPG. In 2014, almost half of Indian households didn't have LPG connections. We decided to change the LPG landscape in India,“ Pradhan said, giving an insight into the government's thinking behind the reforms.
Pradhan said reforms in the subsidy mechanism -elimination of ghost consumers and direct subsidy transfer -saved an estimated Rs 21,000 crore, or $3.2 billion, in the two years of the Modi government. During this time, he said, Rs 40,000 crore, or $6.5 billion, in subsidy has been transferred directly to bank accounts of consumers.
Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.