Oil Minister Pradhan calls for umbrella policy to synergise energy ministries
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said there is a need for an umbrella energy policy which will bring about synergy in the work being done by the five energy ministries in the country.
He said a policy to pave the way for growth and reforms in the country’s energy sector through 2040 is the need of the hour. “The biggest challenge in front the country is creating an over-arching policy which is able to bring synergies among the five energy ministries in the country and a long-term comprehensive energy policy till 2040,” Pradhan said while addressing ENRich 2017, KPMG India’s annual energy conclave.
Pradhan said energy is a multi-dimensional commodity and all the fuels — including coal, petrol, diesel, gas and renewables — will have a part to play in the country’s energy growth. The minister stressed upon the need to improve energy accessibility and affordability and said India currently has over 18,000 villages without access to electricity even as energy has been the centre of all industrial revolutions.
“We found that 40 million households still do not have access to electricity prompting us to come out with a scheme, Pradhan Mantri Saubhagya Yojna, under which we will provide free electricity connections to these households by December 2018 at a cost of Rs 16,000 crore,” Pradhan said. He added the Skill Development Ministry and the Ministry of Power are working together to create a skill eco-system in all the identified areas where electricity has to be provided under the scheme.
“Of the Rs 16,000 crore to be spent under the Saubhagya scheme, 40 per cent will be labour cost which will have to be spent in the next 12 months for which we will require skilled labour. We have identified that the maximum connections under this scheme will be in 200 zilas in six states and that is where we are going to create a short-term skilling eco-system,” Pradhan said.
The oil minister also said the government has a strong intent to work towards mitigating climate change and combating pollution and the nation stands by its commitments made under COP21. He added that the advance introduction of BS-VI grade automobile fuel in the national capital will go a long way in addressing the issue of pollution in Delhi.