New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said his ministry has provided 13 crore LPG connections in less than 5 years, which is equivalent to the number of connections in the first 60 years since Independence.
At an event to hand over letters of intent (LoI) to eligible candidates for petrol pump dealerships of state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs), Pradhan said over 6.75 crore LPG connections have been given to poor households under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
“As many as 6.75 crore women have been empowered through the PMUY and 13 crore new LPG connections have been issued,” Pradhan said on the sidelines of the event.
“The allotment of so many new connections has been accompanied by expansion of infrastructure, like gas pipelines, bottling plants and distribution networks. All this has created a large number of jobs,” he said.
The Minister said the opening of petrol pump dealerships has also helped create lakhs of jobs.
“The strike rate of over 30 per cent in allocation of retail outlets is likely to lead to thousands of dealerships, and will create lakhs of direct employment in these petrol pumps, besides creating opportunity for other associated and ancillary activities,” he said.
Pradhan also briefed reporters on the new policy framework for exploration and licensing, approved by the Cabinet earlier this week, which aims to boost domestic production of oil and gas by offering attractive terms to investors.
Under the new policy framework, bidders of oil and gas blocks will be encouraged to invest more on exploration and start sharing revenue with the government only at the production stage.
Accordingly, auction of oil and gas blocks will give 70 per cent weightage to the work programme proposed by prospective bidders and 30 per cent weightage to proposed revenue share against the equal weightage given at present.
The new scheme will be applied for auction of unallocated or unexplored areas of producing basins.
For partially explored blocks and those where no exploration has been done, bidders will not be required to bid on the basis of revenue share or production share with the government but will be awarded blocks only on the basis of work programme or the level of investment and technology to be incorporated by them.
The contractor will have full marketing and pricing freedom for crude oil and natural gas to be sold at arm’s length basis through a transparent bidding process.