Government may extend 10% quota for poorer sections to allocation of petrol pumps
These companies follow the reservation policy of the central government, two government officials said on condition of anonymity.Updated: Jan 12, 2019 07:35 IST
The government may extend the newly announced 10% reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) in government jobs and education institutes — essentially a quota for the poor upper castes — to the allocation of petrol pumps and cooking gas agencies by state-run oil marketing companies.
These companies follow the reservation policy of the central government, two government officials said on condition of anonymity.
“A formal proposal to give 10% reservation (in allocation of retail outlets) to EWS category will be initiated in due course, but only after the newly passed legislation is notified,” one of the two added.
Senior officials in the petroleum ministry did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment. The bill is expected to be notified soon after it gets assent of the President of India, the officials said.
State-owned fuel retailers — Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) — already have a reservation policy for scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs) and other backward classes (OBCs). The quota for OBC in the allocation of petrol pumps and LPG agencies was introduced by the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government on July 20, 2012.
Currently, 22.5% of such allotments are reserved for SCs and STs, 27% for OBCs and 50.5% for persons belonging to the open category across the country barring Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram.
Reservations for retail outlets in northeastern states vary according to socio-economic composition. In Arunachal Pradesh 70% are reserved for STs.
There are quotas within the quota for various categories, including defence personnel and women.
Former HPCL chairman and managing director S Roy Choudhury said that the move to give some reservation in allocation of petrol pumps to EWS category is a good one and also makes commercial sense but that the government should ensure that the consumer and the company do not suffer. “If there is a balance between social and commercial interests, it is a win-win situation,” he added.
Petroleum sector experts say that sometimes such allotments are misused by the beneficiaries who sublet it to local businessman for a consideration.
“Often war widows and old defence personnel are unable to run the petrol pump business and they sublet their pumps. That ensures a regular income to them. But, often these pumps are ill managed and that make the company suffer,” an oil sector expert Y Sahai said.
State-owned oil companies recently invited bids from different category of aspirants for setting up petrol pumps in 78,688 locations across the country.