Get Pri­vate Cook­ing Gas Mar­keters In

The Economic Times - - Breaking Ideas -

It is wel­come that the Union Bud­get seeks to mod­ernise the cook­ing fuel of all five crore house­holds be­low the poverty line in the next two years or so. What has been out­lined is a ‘mas­sive mis­sion’ to pro­vide LPG cook­ing gas con­nec­tions to poor house­holds: .₹ 2,000 crore has been bud­geted this fis­cal, and the tar­get is to pro­vide LPG cylin­ders to 1.5 crore fam­i­lies. How­ever, it would be poor pol­icy in­deed if the LPG cylin­der roll­out re­mains a mo­nop­oly of the trio of pub­lic sec­tor oil com­pa­nies: In­dian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hin­dus­tan Petroleum. It would be at huge avoid­able na­tional cost. In­stead, we need to boost par­al­lel mar­ket­ing in a big way and step-up pri­vate sec­tor par­tic­i­pa­tion. It would pro­vide much-needed com­pet­i­tive pres­sures to shore up cylin­der avail­abil­ity, im­prove ser­vice qual­ity and ar­rest costs and markups across the sup­ply chain. For sound par­al­lel mar­ket­ing, we need guide­lines on im­proved mar­ket de­sign in­clud­ing norms for shar­ing in­fra­struc­ture, say, for fuel stor­age and sup­ply, with pri­vate providers. With­out ini­tial nur­tur­ing, the par­al­lel mar­ket would hardly take off. It was tried out back in1993 but sans norms for hir­ing stor­age ca­pac­ity and the like, proved a non-starter.

Cook­ing on an open fire us­ing tra­di­tional fuel is a ma­jor in­door pol­lu­tion and health haz­ard, akin to burn­ing 400 cig­a­rettes an hour, and the flame from LPG cylin­ders prom­ises to trans­form pub­lic health for ru­ral women in par­tic­u­lar. Yet, LPG for cook­ing is a dated prac­tice that has been phased out in most parts of the world. In ur­ban ar­eas, we need to ramp up piped nat­u­ral gas sup­ply for cook­ing and heat­ing. In ru­ral ar­eas, elec­tric­ity or, in its ab­sence, mod­ern smoke­less chul­lahs that use lo­cal biomass would be bet­ter sub­sti­tutes. Ru­ral elec­tric­ity will soon cease to be the stuff of dreams or tall poll prom­ises.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.