New Delhi: Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan has called for the inclusion of petroleum products under GST regime. Speaking at the third India Energy Forum by CERAWeek in New Delhi on Monday, he appealed to the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to take this up with the GST council and at least make a beginning by including natural gas and Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) in the GST. He said, “It’s been two years since the historic tax reform, GST, was implemented under the decisive leadership of Prime Minister Modi. Given the complexity of the petroleum sector and the revenue dependence of state governments in this sector, petroleum products have been kept outside the ambit of the GST regime. There has been continuous demand from the petroleum industry for the inclusion of petroleum products under the GST regime.”
‘No single form of energy can meet India’s demand’
Addressing the delegates at India Energy Forum, Pradhan said that no single form of energy can meet the growing energy demand in India, given India’s development imperative that aims to ensure energy justice to all. Mixing all commercially viable energy sources is the only feasible way forward in our context. India will chart its own course of the energy transition in a responsible manner.
The Minister highlighted several measures taken by the government to overhaul the hydrocarbon policy framework to revitalise oil and gas ecosystem and establish a conducive business environment. “The growing presence of global oil and gas majors like Saudi Aramco, ADNOC, BP, Shell, Total, Rosneft and ExxonMobil in India is a testimony to the faith and confidence of global investors on promising India’s growth story. I am glad to see investors, Making in India, for India, and also for the globe,” Pradhan said.
‘Three bids completed under OALP and 2 under DSF’
Pradhan said that we have successfully completed three bid rounds under the Open Acreage Licensing Policy and two rounds of bidding under the Discovered Small Fields (DSF) policy. Through these successful biddings, India is expected to garner an estimated investment of 58 billion US dollars in the E & P sector by 2023. He said that a special thrust is being given to promote a gas-based economy under the guidance of Modi.
“I am happy to inform you that as we speak, an estimated investment of 60 billion US dollars is lined up in building gas pipelines, terminals, and City Gas infrastructure that are in different stages of implementation,” he added. The City Gas Distribution network development in India which has been authorised for building and commissioning will cover half of India’s geography and would serve 70 percent of India’s population through the availability of low carbon and affordable natural gas.
‘India placing thrust on biofuels’
To promote energy sustainability, the Minister said that we are giving thrust on biofuels. The new National Biofuel policy envisages an integrated approach to produce biofuels from various types of agriculture residue and municipal solid waste. Highlighting some difficulties being faced by private entrepreneurs to access to bank finance for setting up Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) plants, he requested the Finance Minister to look into this challenge. The Minister said, “We also aim to achieve 10 percent blending percentage of ethanol in petrol by 2022 to cut dependence on energy import, promote the use of environment-friendly fuel and boost the agriculture sector.”
Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurates India Energy Forum
Inaugurating the conference, Sitharaman said that India is fast becoming an attractive destination for foreign investors. Highlighting the recent announcements to bring down the Corporate Tax rates, she said that atmosphere to invest is friendlier now. She also talked about the amendments in the Companies Act and IBC Code, stating that the focus is now on compliance. Sitharaman assured that the Energy sector is on top of agenda, and we are at the cusp of an energy transition. The Finance Minister said that the government will ensure that the commitments made to the investors are honoured. Reiterating the government’s commitment to COP-21 targets, she said that renewable energy sources are being encouraged. She said that India wants to widen its basket of energy sources. Lauding the government’s initiatives to provide cooking gas fuel and electricity to all the people of the country, she said that the government had taken up these initiatives on mission mode, benefitting a large population.