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Chairman of Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), B C Tripathi on Monday sought waiver off customs duty on LNG and raised his decibel for bringing in “natural gas” into GST fold, yelling that India desperately requires “a well crafted integrated energy policy” in the absence of which, it cannot move towards gas based economy and hardly create an intense urge and addiction for mass consumption of natural gas.
Inaugurating a Conference on “India Moving Towards Gas Based Economy-Roadmap Ahead” under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday, Mr. Tripathi demanded that “an assured rate of return of 12 percent is essential for GAIL on its investments to connect entire India with gas pipeline network without entering into any partnership deed to accomplish the objective.
“No country in the world, barring USA created a national gas grid entering into partnership arrangement and that it has been done by the national oil companies on their own and therefore, if an assured ROR of 12% is guaranteed to us, GAIL can connect India with such a network including north east and Tripura”, said Mr. Tripathi.
“Natural gas sector has not been able to realize its full potential until now due to apathetic government policies including multiple stiff taxation on it like excise, VAT, octroi and other such local levies and therefore, it needs to be subsumed in GST regime with new integrated energy policy in place which can offer a preferential treatment for natural gas”, Mr. Tripathi said, cautioning that natural gas share in energy basket could increase to intended 15% only with suggested prescriptions.
The CMD also felt that preferential treatment for natural gas sector has become necessary to produce clean energy by pouring in huge investments into it rather than reviving the retired thermal power plants with additional investments which could neither be cost competitive and continue to abet the pollution and pollutants that arise out of them.
Mr. Tripathi also added that GAIL on its own way would promote campaign such as “Swachh Bijlee” for cleaner environment on lines of natural gas which is completely a cleaner fuel for mass consumption and has already set-up a Start-up fund of Rs.100 crore to promote innovation in the field of natural gas engines.
Speaking on the occasion, Director Finance, Petronet LNG, Mr. R K Garg though welcomed reducing customs duty on LNG by 50%, however, felt that in view of its commercial significance, the duty on it should have been brought to zero per cent.
President, PHD Chamber, Mr. Gopal Jiwarajka in his remarks promised that all concerns and roadmap suggested by Mr. Tripathi for transformation of natural gas sector will be taken to the highest level of policy making by the PHD Chamber as the suggested proposals mooted by GAIL are fully justified for promotion of natural gas.
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