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India to seek WTO nod for BIS-certified liquefied petroleum gas stoves

Shine Jacob/New Delhi 10 Feb 19 | 10:19 PM

An official said clearance from WTO is mandatory for this as it comes under the international trade rules

India is set to approach the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to make the certification from Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) mandatory for all the liquefied petroleum gas stoves sold in the country.

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This is after sale of LPG stoves more than doubled to around 50 million a year for the last three years, following the launch of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. 

The move is likely to deal a huge blow to over 200 small players and importers, who run their business through e-commerce platforms and local shops. 

A major chunk of these imports comes from China. Having BIS certification will ensure that all the gas stoves sold in India have high thermal efficiency of at least 68 per cent, compared to 60 per cent for non-BIS ones.

A senior government official said the ministry of petroleum and natural gas had approached the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in this regard.

Two sources, who were closely associated with the development, told Business Standard that DIPP is likely to send a draft quality control order to WTO for a mandatory 60-day consultation by the end of March. “Only around 300 companies have BIS certification now, which is mandatory for those sold by dealers of oil marketing companies. This is around 70 per cent of the total sales in the country, while the rest are non-BIS," said an official.

Addressing India's flagship hydrocarbon event Petrotech-2019, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Sunday that when the BJP government took charge, India had only around 130 million households with cooking gas connections, which has increased to 240 million now.

“Today, our LPG penetration has increased from 55 per cent to 90 per cent. India will soon be connect to all houses with clean cooking fuel," Pradhan added. According to an industry estimate, the number of stoves sold in India increased from about 15 million per annum in 2014 to 50 million per annum now. This has also increased the value of per annum sales from around Rs 2,500 crore to over Rs 6,000 crore now.

The minister said his government was focused on improving the ease of living of common people by enhancing access to clean cooking fuel. 

ALSO READ: India becomes world's 2nd largest LPG consumer after govt's Ujjawla push

“We introduced Ujjwala scheme, under which we targeted to provide LPG connections to 80 million households, of which 64 million households have already been provided the LPG connections in just three years," he added. 

An official said clearance from WTO is mandatory for this as it comes under the international trade rules.

Based on reports, the rise in sales had a multiplier effect on the manufacturers of equipment such as cylinders, pressure regulators, stoves and tubing too. 

A media report said the number of cylinder makers across the country in 2014-15 was 102, and went up to 146 in two years and the industry’s turnover has surged from Rs 3,491 crore to Rs 5,258 crore during the period.

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