In a bid to make the LPG distributorship more broad based, participative and transparent, the government has issued new unified guidelines for selection. Among other things, the guidelines talk of 33% reservation for women across all categories.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) has issued new guidelines for selection of LPG distributorships after a comprehensive review of the existing distributorship selection policies. The objective of the new guidelines is to strengthen the LPG supply chain with focus on rural areas and creating job opportunities through supply chain system.
Major Features of the new guidelines
Following are some of the major features of the new unified guidelines.
- Four broad types of distributorships with varying refill ceiling limits- Sheheri, Rurban, Gramin and Durgam Vitrak.
- Eligibility norms for age, education, fund requirement and ownership of land for godown & showroom have been relaxed to make selection process more participative.
- 33% reservation to women across all categories has been introduced to encourage women entrepreneurship. 3% reservation for Divyang candidates (persons with disability)
- As a part of Government’s Digital India campaign, Online filing, processing and selection has been introduced for Sheheri distributorships on a pilot basis.
- To take care of interest of Defence personnel and their dependents, priority in selection under Government Personnel category has been introduced.
- Monetary norms for security deposit have been relaxed for the selected candidates belonging to SC/ST and OBCs.
- In order to address the issue of last mile reach of LPG in difficult areas, LPG Suvidha Kendra facility will be introduced for improving delivery of services.
- LPG distributorships would be set up in active collaboration with the State Government agencies to strengthen the supply chain in Durgam areas.
Irregularities are found in about 6% of the LPG Distributors
Regular Inspections are carried out by the Field Officers, Anti Adulteration Cell and Vigilance Department of Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) at LPG godowns and showrooms of LPG distributorships to identify irregularities. These regular surprise inspections at conducted at distributor’s premises by way of refill audits, surprise checks at customer’s premises, en-route checking of delivery vehicles etc.
As per data available with the government, more than 30000 inspections have been carried out by the OMCs in each of the years from 2012-13. The percentage of established cases of irregularities (black marketing/ diversion/ overcharging/ underweight/ irregular home delivery of cylinders by LPG distributors) compared to the number of inspections has been increasing in the last two years. From 6.8% in 2012-13, it went down to 4.4% in 2013-14. It then increased to 6.3% in 2014-15 and has further increased to 7.2% in 2015-16 (till October 2015).
The percentage of irregularities in states varied from year to year. In 2012-13, more than 10% irregularities were found in 7 states. This was down to just 3 states in 2013-14. Five states had more than 10% irregularities in 2014-15 and 10 states have more than 10% irregularities in 2015-16 (till October 2015).
In all established cases of irregularities, action is taken against the erring distributors as per provisions of Marketing Discipline Guidelines (MDG) and distributorship agreement.
The government believes that the new unified guidelines will pave the way for a more broad based, participative and transparent system of selection of distributors across the country that will also help arrest irregularities. This year, the OMCs will start the process for selection of new distributors in 10,000 new locations.