Date and time: Wednesday Feb 24, 2021 | 3 to 4.30 PM

The role of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in providing relief to the sections most vulnerable to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of the domestic LPG sector now and going forward. However, while India has achieved near 100% coverage of LPG connections, latest NSSO data suggests that nearly half of rural India still relies primarily on solid fuels for its cooking needs. Thus, significant efforts are needed to bridge the gap between connections and sustained use in rural India. Addressing challenges of affordability, behaviour change and quality of supply and service are crucial to ensuring sustained adoption of LPG. These issues are very pertinent now, as urban India may move to other cooking fuel options such as piped natural gas or electricity, leading to a situation where oil-marketing companies (OMCs) are left mainly with rural and under-served consumers in the domestic LPG segment.

Therefore, in order to provide long-term quality service, systemic issues relevant to rural consumers need to be identified and remedied through strong accountability mechanisms that go beyond just individual grievance redressal. Presently, such systems in the domestic LPG service delivery appear to be very weak and inadequate. In our recent report ‘On the back burner: Accountability in Domestic LPG Service Delivery’, which was presented in the webinar, we study accountability mechanisms in domestic LPG sector, and highlight issues of uneven accountability of OMCs, aspects of distributor viability, and mechanisms that do not take consumer grievance redressal systems into consideration, among other things. We analyse the Distributorship Agreement and Marketing Discipline Guidelines to highlight the issues in the sector and suggest ideas for improvement.

Speakers: Narendra Pai

Organisers: Ashok Sreenivas, Ann Josey

The presentation made at the webinar and its full recording can be accessed below.