In­dia looks to WTO for BIS-cer­ti­fied LPG stoves

Business Standard - - ECONOMY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS - SHINE JA­COB

In­dia is set to ap­proach the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WTO) to make the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the Bureau of In­dian Stan­dards (BIS) manda­tory for all the liq­ue­fied petroleum gas stoves sold in the coun­try.

This is af­ter the sales of LPG stoves more than dou­bled to around 50 mil­lion a year for the last three years, fol­low­ing the launch of Prad­han Mantri Ujjwala Yo­jana.

The move is likely to deal a huge blow to over 200 small play­ers and im­porters, who run their busi­ness through e- com­merce plat­forms and lo­cal shops.

A ma­jor chunk of these im­ports comes from China. Hav­ing BIS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion will en­sure that all the gas stoves sold in In­dia have high ther­mal ef­fi­ciency of at least 68 per cent, com­pared to 60 per cent for non-BIS ones.

A se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cial said the min­istry of petroleum and nat­u­ral gas had ap­proached the Depart­ment of In­dus­trial Pol­icy and Pro­mo­tion (DIPP) in this re­gard.

Two sources, who were closely as­so­ci­ated with the de­vel­op­ment, told Busi­ness Stan­dard that DIPP is likely to send a draft qual­ity con­trol or­der to WTO for a manda­tory 60-day con­sul­ta­tion by the end of March.

“Only around 300 com­pa­nies have BIS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion now, which is manda­tory for those sold by deal­ers of oil mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies. This is around 70 per cent of the to­tal sales in the coun­try, while the rest are non-BIS,” said an of­fi­cial.

Ad­dress­ing In­dia's flag­ship hy­dro­car­bon event Petrotech-2019, Petroleum Min­is­ter Dhar­men­dra Prad­han said on Sun­day that when the BJP govern­ment took charge, In­dia had only around 130 mil­lion house­holds with cook­ing gas con­nec­tions, which has in­creased to 240 mil­lion now.

“To­day, our LPG pen­e­tra­tion has in­creased from 55 per cent to 90 per cent. In­dia will soon be con­nect to all houses with clean cook­ing fuel,”

Prad­han added. Ac­cord­ing to an in­dus­try es­ti­mate, the num­ber of stoves sold in In­dia in­creased from about 15 mil­lion per an­num in 2014 to 50 mil­lion per an­num now.

This has also in­creased the value of per an­num sales from around ~2,500 crore to over ~6,000 crore now.

The min­is­ter said his govern­ment was fo­cused on im­prov­ing the ease of liv­ing of com­mon peo­ple by en­hanc­ing ac­cess to clean cook­ing fuel.

“We in­tro­duced Ujjwala scheme, un­der which we tar­geted to pro­vide LPG con­nec­tions to 80 mil­lion house­holds, of which 64 mil­lion house­holds have al­ready been pro­vided the LPG con­nec­tions in just three years,” he added.

An of­fi­cial said clear­ance from WTO is manda­tory for this as it comes un­der the in­ter­na­tional trade rules.

Based on re­ports, the rise in sales had a mul­ti­plier ef­fect on the man­u­fac­tur­ers of equip­ment such as cylin­ders, pres­sure reg­u­la­tors, stoves and tub­ing too.

A me­dia re­port said the num­ber of cylin­der mak­ers across the coun­try in 2014-15 was 102, and went up to 146 in two years and the in­dus­try’s turnover has surged from ~3,491 crore to ~5,258 crore dur­ing the pe­riod.

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