Tarun Kapoor, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas on Wednesday said that the government is considering bringing natural gas under the GST to begin with as it would be difficult to bring the entire oil & gas sector immediately under it.
“We want that whoever is in the sector has ease of operations. The first product which we are targeting is gas so if that happens that would be a good beginning and that is the direction we have to go,” Kapoor said while addressing the webinar, ‘Future of Global Oil & Gas Prices & Policies for India’, organised by the industry chamber FICCI.
“The government is keen to invite more investments into the sector. We are looking at pricing freedom,” he added.
Highlighting the benefits of the decline in the international crude prices, Kapoor said, “This situation is good for the country because we have huge oil imports and we could make good use of the low prices. We could buy crude to fill our strategic reserves as well. Indian markets are also coming gradually to its previous level so the demand will also increase.”
Kapoor further emphasised on the need of adopting biofuels. He said that government is also looking at options to increase the gas share in country’s total energy mix. “We are very keen on increasing the gas share in the total energy mix in the country. Currently it is only 6.3 per cent of the total primary energy of the country whereas globally it is 24 percent. We also want to move to biofuel,” he said.
On the steps taken by the government to promote Make in India, he said that all large purchases made by public sector enterprises (PSEs) will be done through the domestic route so that the domestic industry gets benefitted.
“We will come out with the list of products where domestic manufacturing is possible,” he informed.
Amar Nath, Joint Secretary (E & VO), Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas said, “We need to focus on areas where we can locally manufacture products and services. We are looking at three buckets of reforms: one, optimise cost structure of our companies; two, make the sector more attractive; and, three, simplify procedures via self-certification. A draft digitalisation policy for Indian exploration & production (E&P) sector will be released soon.”
E S Ranganathan, MD, Indraprastha Gas Limited said, “Overall, we expect demand in city gas distribution (CGD) sector to restore up to 70 per cent level in next three months and it may take another six months for demand to reach pre-COVID levels."
Prashant Modi, Co-Chair, FICCI Hydrocarbons Committee and Managing Director & CEO, Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd (GEECL) said that inclusion of hydrocarbon & natural gas in the GST regime would provide a boost to the development of the sector.
Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that India is using this crisis as an opportunity by resetting various facets of the economy including its spending in the energy sector.