oppn parties Private Players Allowed To Market Transport Fuel

News Snippets

  • Corona cases in India cross 4000 and the death toll stands at 124
  • The government decides to double the testing of corona suspects from 10000 now to 20000 in the next three days
  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
26 nurses and 3 doctors test positive for COVID-19 at Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai, facility cordoned off, no entry or exit permitted from the hospital
oppn parties
Private Players Allowed To Market Transport Fuel

By A Special Correspondent

The government has finally decided to open up transport fuel retailing to others. It was an injustice that only oil companies who had invested Rs 2000 cr in exploration, drilling or processing of petroleum were allowed to retail the end product. This has resulted in India being served by an oligopolistic marketing structure that just dispensed fuel without caring for the customer. It also meant that pricing policies were opaque and almost every overhead was added to the retail price.

But keeping a minimum net worth threshold of Rs 250cr for those who want to retail fuel is regressive as it will once again prevent smaller players and wider competition. After all, retailing fuel is not like opening a bank. If the government is concerned about payments to oil companies by retailers it need not be as they issue delivery orders only after receiving full payment. Anyone who had the land, who could have invested in setting up infrastructure as per existing laws pertaining to the storage of inflammable materials and had shown that he can invest in stocks should have ideally been allowed to retail fuel. The problem with this government is that it does the right thing but in the wrong manner.

The move is expected to bring in specialized fuel retailers from abroad as India is a huge market for transport fuel and it will keep growing at a fast pace. The likes of Total and Aramco, who have been knocking at the doors of the government for long, along with homegrown Adani group, are likely to enter the sector. The government has set some conditions like setting up 5% of the outlets in rural areas and having at least one new generation fuel like CNG, LNG, bio-fuel or electric charging points at retail outlets, but these are not likely to hinder the new entrants.

The likely shakeup is expected to improve service quality, bring down prices and add to the amenities being offered to the customer. It will also bring in world-class logistics in fuel transportation and storage. The government must bring in regulations to ensure that infrastructure is shared on cost-basis among all the players and that private retailing of transport fuel does not meet the same fate as that of parallel marketing of LPG.