India seeks to convert Covid-19 challenges into an opportunity by becoming the global manufacturing hub of the 21st century

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan has appealed to Indian students from various top international universities to come, innovate and explore emerging opportunities in India.

He said this while interacting with Indian students from the world’s top universities on Saturday.

Articulating India’s energy vision, he talked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s roadmap for India’s energy requirements.

“Prime Minister Modi has envisioned a clear roadmap for India’s energy future which rests on five key enablers of energy availability and accessibility for all, energy affordability to the poorest of the poor, efficiency in energy use, energy sustainability for combating climate change as a responsible global citizen and energy security for mitigating global uncertainties,” he said.

Dharmendra Pradhan added, “We introduced the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana(PMUY) scheme, in 2016. Its objective is to provide LPG cooking gas connections, free of cost to 80 million poor households. I am happy to inform you that we could achieve the target of 80 million customers well ahead of schedule. With this, LPG connections are now available to 98 percent of the households in India, up from just about 56 percent in the year 2014.”

About self-reliance in the oil and gas sector, he said “PM Modi has set a target for reduction of 10 percent in energy import dependency by 2022. In this regard, the government has taken several policies as well as administrative measures to augment domestic oil and gas production and reduce dependency on imports for meeting the energy requirements of the country.”

Talking about India’s energy diplomacy, he said, “India has made its presence felt in the global energy map. It is leading the voice of consuming countries demanding a reasonable and affordable price of energy. We are engaging with OPEC, IEA, IEF and all other major voices in the world energy discussions. India has engaged with the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and all major energy producers, under a policy of diversification of supply sources.”

Speaking about India’s transition to gas-based economy, he said, “India is set to emerge as one of the primary drivers of growth in gas demand in Asia, despite the pressing Covid-19 challenges. Today, the share of natural gas in India’s energy mix is about 6.3 percent. We have taken an ambitious target to increase the share of natural gas to 15 percent by 2030.”

On the current pandemic, the Minister said, “We are in the midst of an outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that challenges the fundamental assumptions of our lives. While the immediate economic impact may slow us down, we are presented with an opportunity to pause, rethink, and redesign.”

Dwelling upon the economic package announced during the pandemic, he said, “Prime Minister Modi has announced a massive stimulus package of $ 265 billion - accounting for 10 percent of India’s GDP, to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Major reforms were announced for a self-reliant India that seeks to convert Covid-19 challenges into an opportunity, and for becoming the global manufacturing hub of the 21st century. Energy infrastructure is an integral component of these reforms.”