Dharmendra Pradhan launches IEA report on India’s energy policies: Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel, launched an in-depth review of India’s Energy Policies published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) at an event in New Delhi on Saturday. Pralhad Joshi, Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, Raj Kumar Singh, Minister of State (I/C) for Power and New and Renewable Energy, Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, Niti Aayog, Ambassadors, Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency, and Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog were also present during the event.

Thanking Dr. Fatih Birol and his IEA team for coming up with a comprehensive Report covering the country’s energy sector in its entirety, Pradhan said IEA’s findings are a vindication of the
significant advances made in realising the energy vision enunciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, anchored by Energy Access, Energy Efficiency, Energy Sustainability, and Energy Security, with Energy Justice at its core.

The petroleum minister said India, which is in the midst of a major transformative shift in its energy sector, is now the third-largest energy consumer in the world. The energy policies already put in place by the government and also those on the anvil clearly demonstrates our determination to embrace this energy transition in a sustainable and responsible manner, he added.

As a developing country, with per capita energy consumption below the global average, India still faces the key challenge to meet the growing demand for its energy needs but the country made great strides in recent years towards achieving universal access to modern energy, including clean cooking and electricity, affordable, secure and cleaner energy for its people. The Report captures well the progress made in achieving sustainable energy for all, as reflected in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) and it also highlights the persisting challenges to be focused in the coming days, Pradhan added.

Talking about the Ujjwala Yojana, Pradhan said the remotest corners of India have been touched for cleaner fuel access under the scheme. India is also sharing its experience with its friends in
Africa and Asia to enable them to benefit from the best practices in the promotion of the scheme, the minister said.

Pradhan said India’s transformation to a gas-based economy and developing indigenously produced biofuels, apart from renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, can potentially achieve the much-needed carbon reductions. As part of the energy transition, decarbonisation of the energy sector is picking up momentum in India and given the country’s development imperative, our thrust is on building the oil and gas infrastructure to ensure access to affordable energy to all our citizens. The report notes that India is moving towards a gas-based economy, he added.

Talking about the Ujjwala Yojana, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the remotest corners of India have been touched for cleaner fuel access under the scheme.

According to Pradhan, an estimated investment of 100 billion dollars in oil and gas infrastructure has been lined up. The gas pipeline network will soon be covering the length and breadth of the country; from Kutch in Western India to Kohima in the East, and from Kashmir in the North to Kanyakumari in the South. In yet another important decision, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government has approved viability Gap Funding/ Capital Grant at 60 percent of the estimated cost of Rs 9265 crore for the North East gas grid project to develop gas pipeline grid of 1656 km in the eight states of the North-eastern region, he said.

The oil ministry is aggressively working to build a City Gas Distribution Network covering more than 400 districts of India. This network will serve 72% of India’s population with cleaner and affordable gas over more than 50 % of India’s geography. Talking about the proposed Workshop on Natural Gas on 23 January in New Delhi, Pradhan said the network will bring together for the first time all relevant stakeholders under one roof.

The minister also said the report acknowledges the government’s efforts in making energy security as a prime policy priority and recognises the efficiency achieved due to the government’s relentless march in undertaking tectonic reforms in the energy sector and continued pursuit of market-based solutions. The government has taken note of IEA’s recommendation for reinforcement of India’s oil emergency response policy, he said. Enhancing international engagement on global oil security issues is already an active goal being pursued by my Ministry while energy has become an essential commodity in our bilateral trade engagements with several key trading partners and in positioning India as an important strategic player in the global energy landscape, Pradhan said.

Talking about the diversification of oil sources and the development of alternative resources of energy as such bio-fuel, the oil and steel minister said these are being undertaken in an accelerated mode. The government is on the way to achieve 20% ethanol blending in petrol and 5% bio-diesel in diesel by 2030. Indeed, to promote energy sustainability, the new National Biofuel policy focuses on waste-to-wealth creation and targets to generate various types of bio-fuels from agriculture residue and municipal waste, he said.

The minister also expressed his deep concern about the crude oil price volatility in the backdrop of rising tensions in the Middle East. He said the govt has taken several measures to ensure the investor-friendly environment.

The IEA has noted that during the period 2015 to 2018, investments in the energy sector in India recorded the second-highest growth in the world. We are happy that global oil and gas majors like Saudi Aramco, ADNOC, BP, Shell, Total, Rosneft and ExxonMobil are making their significant presence in India, the oil minister said.

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