According to the notes, prepared for an oil ministry event on Thursday to showcase India’s CGD (city gas distribution) programme, the expansion of CNG (compressed natural gas) and PNG (piped natural gas) services will also create nearly four lakh direct employment opportunities by 2027.
The projections are bound to lift the mood in the government as it comes amid slowing economic growth and falling employment opportunities.
Only 34 GAs (geographical areas, akin to licence areas across districts in a state) in the country had city gas distribution networks till 2014, when Narendra Modi became PM the first time. Since then, his government has given out 174 GAs for building city gas distribution networks.
After 136 GAs are given out in the ninth and 10th rounds of auction, city gas distribution networks will cover 70% of the population and 53% of the country’s geographical area spanning 400 districts across 27 states. The programme has an estimated investment potential of Rs 90,000 crore.
As a result, the number of households with PNG connections will rise to over 4 crore from 55 lakh, while the number of CNG stations will go up from 1,838 to 10,000 by 2024.
Such a scale of network expansion will need huge quantities of pipes, mechanical and smart meters, PNG regulators, compressors and boosters pumps etc, which will open up opportunities for domestic manufacturing, especially in the medium and small enterprises segments.
Similarly, the notes say there will be demand for 3.75 lakh skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled manpower to run and maintain the networks. According to the government, 31% of this manpower requirement will be for skilled personnel, 56% for semi-skilled and 13% for unskilled workers.
The city gas distribution push is part of the Modi government’s plan to reduce the economy’s carbon footprint by expanding the share of clean-burning natural gas in India’s energy basket from 6% to 15% by 2030. Globally, natural gas accounts for 24-25% of the energy basket.