Clean energy seems to be the buzzword for Dharmendra Pradhan’s ministry of petroleum. Its flagship social sector programme, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), has not only surpassed the current financial year’s target of 15 million connections but is likely to touch 20 million by the end of next month (the close of 2016-17).
In the current year, spending on PMUY, under which cooking gas connections are given to poor households, has shot up by Rs 500 crore in the Revised Estimates from the budgeted Rs 2,000 crore. The subsidy outgo on this account is expected to be Rs 2,500 crore in 2017-18.
The scheme was launched on May 1 at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, with a target of providing connections to 50-million below-poverty-line families in three years, with a government support of Rs 1,600 per connection. For the three years, the government had allocated Rs 8,000 crore; the connections are issued in the name of the women in those families.
On Monday, the scheme crossed the 16-million mark, touching 166,86,876 connections.
Stiffer Bharat Stage (BS)-IV emission standards for motor vehicles apply for the entire country from April 1, with fuel compatible enough. This will be followed by a leap to BS-VI quality norms in April 2020.
The ministry is also giving incentives for states that undertake cuts in kerosene allocation. The switch to direct cash transfers on this head has helped. States are to get an incentive of 75 per cent of subsidy savings during the first two years, 50 per cent in the third year and 25 per cent in the fourth year. Haryana and Karnataka have got these for the current financial year.
In 2015-16, the country’s consumption was 86,85,384 kilolitres of kerosene, via the system of ration shops.
On blending of ethanol with petrol, the three government-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) had procured 1,110 million litres of ethanol till November. To meet the current target of 10 per cent blending, the government oil companies are to establish 12 ethanol plants in 11 states.
The first biofuel refinery is being set up by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation at Bathinda in Punjab. Biodiesel blend is being sold by OMCs in six states, from 3,621 retail outlets. Indian Oil Corporation has also set up a five-tonne a day waste-to-energy unit in Varanasi.
Of India’s total petroleum consumption of 184.7 million tonnes (mt), 74.6 mt is diesel, followed by 21.8 mt of petrol and 19.6 mt of liquefied petroleum gas.