New Delhi: More than 70% of India’s population across 400 districts will get access to city gas distribution (CGD) network once the work is completed after the 10th bidding round, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.
While laying the foundation stone of CGD projects in 65 Geographical Areas (GAs) in 129 districts awarded in the ninth round, Modi said here that India had to keep in mind its clean energy commitment and show the world that development could happen without much damage to the environment.
This assumes significance in a country that is now the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China. India plans to reduce by 2030 its carbon footprint by 33-35% from its 2005 levels, as part of its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015.
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the 10th round would help cover about 53% of India’s geography, help the states get cheap gas, with the 9th and 10th rounds involving an investment of Rs1.20 trillion.
While work is on in 174 districts, India has CGD networks in 91 GAs operated by 36 firms.
With India pushing for a gas-based economy, 50 GAs in 123 districts have been offered in the 10th round. Gas accounts for around 6.2% of India’s primary energy mix as compared to a global average of 24%, The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government plans to increase its share to 15% by 2030. India’s gas demand is expected to be driven by the fertilizer, power, city gas distribution and steel sectors.
Modi added that the initiative would help reduce pollution and strengthen India’s resolve towards fulfilling its COP-21, the UN Climate Conference commitments. He added that the number of CNG stations would go up from 1,470 today to 10,000 in the next decade.
Modi said once the work was completed, around 2 crore households would have piped natural gas (PNG) connections as compared to 25 lakh connections in 2014. He added that the initiative would bring social, economic and environmental change and create an ecosystem that would help improve living standards and create employment opportunities.
The focus on PNG follows the initiative taken by the government to provide free cooking gas connections to 80 million poor families under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. Around 13 crore connections have been given during the NDA’s term leading to 90% of the country being brought under liquified petroleum gas (LPG) connection coverage.
Modi said the Ujjwala Yojana had definitely played a role in spreading this coverage with 6 crore women been provided with free gas connections.
India’s energy demand has been growing. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), which accounts for about 40% of global production, is of the view that global demand is expected to increase by 33%, or 91 million barrels oil equivalent per day (mboed), between 2015 and 2040. Of this, 24%, or a 22 mboed increase, is expected from India.
Modi said the 5,000 bio-compressed natural gas plants that would be set up would boost farmers income. He added that blending of ethanol and petrol had increased four times since 2014 and the aim was to increase it to 10%. Ethanol blending in petrol increased from 38 crore litres in 2013-14 to around 141 crore litres in 2017-18.
The NDA government is also working towards providing appropriate price signals for achieving the demand-side response. This includes the perform, achieve and trade (PAT) programme, a market-based energy efficiency trading mechanism for moving towards cleaner cooking fuels.