70% decline in oil, gas demand but India able to fill its strategic reserves of petroleum products: Dharmendra Pradhan

New Delhi [India], May 4 (ANI): India has seen almost 70 per cent decline in oil and gas demand but has been able to fill its strategic reserves of petroleum products, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.

Pradhan held a social media live conversation to address the concerns of people in the wake of situation created by COVID-19. Responding to a question on oil price and demand, he said the world is seeing reduction in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

“India has also seen almost 70 per cent decline in oil and gas demand. The oil and gas sector is going through unprecedented challenges. Despite challenges, our refineries are operating, supply chain working. India has been able to fill its strategic reserves of petroleum products. Our oil companies have procured almost 7 MMT oil at low prices. Almost 20 per cent of our demand has been stored. This has also led to reduced import bill which will help us free more resources for public welfare measures,” he said. The minister answered questions sent by people through social media.

Asked about advice to job aspirants post lockdown, he said digital literacy will become more and more important and newer jobs will be created. “The world is changing. Take for example how banks have reached the doorsteps of people in villages. In an increasingly digital world, digital literacy will become more and more important. If technology will pervade our lives more, we will need people to run technology. The nature of the job will change and newer jobs will be created,” he said, according to a release.

The minister said the country is going through unprecedented times and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leading the way in which the citizens and the country is dealing with this pandemic.

“Today we are entering third phase of the lockdown. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said `Jaan hai to Jahaan hai’ and followed it up with the mantra `Jaan bhi aur Jahaan bhi’. We have to follow the lockdown while slowly resuming economic activities,” he said.

Answering a query, he expressed confidence that the country will be able to overcome the challenge posed by coronavirus.

“I am confident that the way in which central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state governments are working together as a team, we will be able to overcome this challenge,” he said.

On a question related to PM Garib Kalyan Yojana package, Pradhan said that it is ensuring food security and economic assistance to the most vulnerable sections in the challenging times.

He said three free refills under PMUY is providing much-needed relief. “DBT and PDS networks are being leveraged to provide help to the needy,” he said.

On a question on PMUY, Pradhan said “in the first month itself, almost 4.5 crore PMUY beneficiaries have been provided LPG cylinders”.

“On a daily basis 50-60 lakh LPG cylinders are delivered across the country. Corona warriors of oil and gas sector are working hard to serve our public even in red zones at great personal risk,” he said.

Answering a query related to Odisha, he said people of state have defeated many challenges in the past. “This time, it will be no different. People of Odisha have immense strength and capability to defeat any challenge that comes their way. With a positive mindset, we must fight this challenge and prepare ourselves for a changed world,” Pradhan said.

He also lauded NIT Rourkela students who prepared the technology platform for video conferencing.


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