Government has to exit oil business

0
289

The government wants to get out of the oil business and bring in market competition for the benefit and convenience of consumers, said oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

The government wants to get out of the oil business and bring in market competition for the benefit and convenience of consumers, said oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

“Oil products are commodities and should be left to the market and regulator to deal with. The government has to get out. The PM’s energy justice is based on four consumer parameters – affordability, accessibility, sustainability and supply security. These are the government’s priority and it is meeting the objectives through transparent, process-driven policy,” Pradhan said.

This is the first categorical statement from the government on the guiding principle behind the proposed sale of the country’s third-largest fuel retailer Bharat Petroleum (BPCL).

The proposal is likely to be cleared next week and will mark the Modi government’s first strategic disinvestment in the oil sector, considered the administration’s key public interface with people. Simultaneously, Pradhan’s ministry is also readying a rejig in other state-run blue chips under its wings-splitting gas utility GAIL into pipeline and marketing arms and allowing flagship explorer ONGC to decide whether to keep Hindustan Petroleum, the country’s second-largest fuel retailer, or find a buyer for it.

All these measures, including the sale of BPCL, are expected to usher real competition and convenience in a market where state-run companies have a stranglehold.

Pradhan pointed to telecom, aviation and cement industries to underline how competition benefits consumers. Entry of private players led to lower tariffs, improved reach and service and rapid capacity expansion.

Pradhan said “The government should be present only where its role is required for creating ease of living. What is the government’s role? It is to frame policy. In a progressive economy, the government’s job is to create facilities for wealth creation, not be a wealth creator.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here