oppn parties Private Players Allowed To Market Transport Fuel

News Snippets

  • In a first, the Supreme Court recognizes marital rape, although for the limited purpose of allowing married women the right of abortion up to 24 weeks if they conceived as a result of forced sex by their husbands
  • Air India cuts discounts on base fare to students and senior citizens from 50% to 25%
  • Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh are being touted as frontrunners to take on Shashi Tharoor in the elections for the post of Congress president
  • Sonia Gandhi will decide who will be Rajasthan CM if she feels there is a need to change guard after the near-rebellion by MLAs in the state
  • Ashok Gehlot bowed out of the race for being Congress president after meeting Sonia Gandhi
  • India has moved to the 40th spot in the innovation index, up 6 spots from last year
  • DGGI has alleged that top insurance companies, banks and NBFCs has committed a fraud of Rs 800cr by claiming input tax credit without underlying supplies
  • The Centre will borrow Rs 10000cr less than planned earlier due to good revenue collections
  • At $23.9bn, India's current account deficit widened to 2.8% in Q1, the worst in four years
  • Stocks continue to flounder on Thursday: Sensex sheds 188 points to 56409 and Nifty 40 points to 16818
  • The 36th National Games were declared open on Thusrday by PM Modi in front of a record crowd in Motera near Ahmedabad
  • Jasprit Bumrah most likely to miss T20 World Cup due to recurrence of back injury
  • PFI's political wing, the SDPI is on EC radar and action will follow soon if discrepancies are detected
  • Ashok Gehlot to meet Sonia Gandhi today, says all issues will be sorted out soon
  • Referring to the PFI ban, most Muslim organizations ask the government to take similar action against right wings organizations like the RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP and the like
In a landmark order, Supreme Court rules that all women, married or unmarried, are entitled to safe and legal abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy as per the MTP Act
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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.