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Make India energy sufficient, cut imports: PM

Pitching for an energy sufficient India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the country should cut oil imports by 10 percent by 2022, while exhorting domestic firms to become global players and the well off to give up subsidised cooking gas connections.

Speaking at the first ‘Urja Sangam’ conference, he said plans are afoot to provide piped gas connection to 1 crore households in the next four years from 27 lakh presently.

Modi said if imports, which account for a staggering 77 percent of the demand, are cut by 10 percent by 2022, the country to look to halving it by 2030. India spent Rs 189,238 crore on import of crude oil in 2013-14.

He also said that Rs 100 crore in subsidy has been saved by 2.8 lakh people giving up the use of below market price LPG. “This money could be used for schools and providing medical facilities. I appeal to those who can buy LPG at market price, to please do not take subsidised LPG.”

Since the government started the new scheme of direct benefit transfer (DBT) for cooking gas, many more people have opted out of the subsidy scheme.

Modi said that 12 crore bank accounts opened under the Jan Dhan scheme are being used for transferring subsidies directly to the consumers which has helped in plugging the leakages and effectively fighting corruption.

“To fight corruption, if institutional mechanism, transparent mechanism, policy driven system can be put in place then we can prevent leakages. And this has been proved by cash transfer,” he said.

Modi also called upon the Indian energy companies to become multinationals and increase their presence in energy corridors in the middle east, central Asia and South Asia. They, he added, could also look to opportunities in North America and Africa.

On reducing energy imports, Modi said it should be done by 2022, when India will celebrate 75 years of Independence.

“We can reduce this import by at least 10 per cent in 2022. This 10 per cent, we will produce ourselves and this should be our dream.

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