Swami Vivekananda once rightly said, “The powers of the mind are like the rays of the sun, when they are concentrated they illumine”. This power fulfills hopes, aspirations, ambitions, of one and many. With this thought process, the Government under leadership of Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has a constant desire to bring a positive change in governance and help common people achieve their goals and ambitions.
In the context of growth of national economy,development of the country and fulfilling aspirations of common man availability of reliable and affordable Energy plays a crucial role. Consumers from all sections of the society need energy to keep their days going. I might be heading the Petroleum Ministry, but even that doesn’t make me any less of a consumer, or diminishes my need for Energy. Hence it is the consumer in me who also drives my mind and my thought process.
The year gone by, has been a year of innovative drives wherein several path-breaking policies were introduced that had significant, positive impact on the lives of consumers. Following on that path, we are introducing various new measures to make – 2016 as the ‘Year of Consumers’.
The WHO estimates that more than 5 million women die every year in India on account of using polluting cooking fuel. This is unacceptable for the present Government. We have set ourselves a target of providing LPG connection to additional 10 crore households in next 3 years. Already several hundred villages have been declared smoke free with LPG connection provided to each household in the village in last one year. I seek cooperation from all,especially from the Gram Panchayats, to take initiative on this line to get their villages moving towards this direction.
Last year, millions of people surrendered their LPG subsidy and are still continuing to do so , under the #GiveItUp Campaign. This has greatly supported the Government’s vision of LPG expansion in rural areas. As promised by Hon’ble Prime Minister the money saved was utilized to provide LPG connection to more than 50 lakh BPL households so far. This is not merely about providing LPG connections; rather, with this, more than 50 lakh women and their families have been empowered to lead healthier lives.
With increasing number of consumers, comes a greater demand for energy. To address this, we have set a target of opening 10,000 new LPG dealerships in 2016 all across India in addition to the existing 16,000. Similarly, we are planning to introduce schemes like payment by easy installments (EMI’s) for those availing new LPG and PNG connections. User friendly light weight plastic and transparent cylinders of various sizes will also be introduced in 2016. Cylinders of small sizes (5kg and 2 kg) will be made widely available which will bring greater convenience to smaller families,students etc.
2016 will also witness special emphasis on making petroleum products available in a smooth manner in hilly,remote areas and various islands. I am aware of the difficulty being faced by consumers in these areas to get LPG,petrol and diesel. I am aware that consumers in many islands in Andaman and Nicobar Islands pay as high as 33% higher amount to get petrol and diesel.
We live in a technology enriched world today, which has opened up new ways of connecting with people. Taking this into account, greater emphasis is now being laid on linking governance with online platforms and social media platforms like Facebook & Twitter to address the concerns of the consumers. I try to use these media outlets as much as possible to share my thoughts and views as well; this blog is a similar endeavor.
We have made attempts to provide LPG through consumer integrated online solution for all services including supply of cooking gas and tracking their delivery by visiting – www.MyLPG.in. We have already introduced online booking of LPG cylinder and online registration for new connection and also online payment for refill of cylinder. During the first month of 2016 itself, we have launched online payment facility for refill of cylinder and a round the clock LPG helpline number 1906 has been launched for immediate assistance to consumers in case of LPG leakage. Transfer of LPG connection from one place to another and also from one company to another will be made a hassle free affair. There will be more focus on addressing the grievances in a time-bound and transparent manner this year. We also plan to install touchscreens in prominent places like railway stations, airports, malls, to provide seamless services to the LPG consumers.
The idea behind these initiatives is to provide world class facility in marketing of petroleum products at affordable price. The idea is also to target subsidies in LPG and Kerosene to reach those who actually deserve it. And at last the idea is to gear the systems to rise to the occasion and meet expectations of consumers by connecting with them and make 2016 and years to come, fruitful and energy rich for all.
I also seek your ideas, suggestions and proposals to bring in new mechanisms and policies to make successful our resolve to make 2016 a year for Consumers. This blog, the online platforms of Ministry and the online discussion forums at mygov.in and mylpg.in are open for your valuable inputs.