India is now world’s second largest LPG importer

India has displaced Japan to become world's second-largest importer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), thanks to PM Modi's pledge to provide gas cylinders to country’s poor households. China continues to hold the first position.

India’s LPG imports saw a rise of 23% during FY 2016-17, reaching 11 million tons, says data from oil ministry's Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell. On the other hand, Japan's imports slipped 3.2% and reached 10.6 million tons during the same period, as per its finance ministry.

It was after his election as the PM in 2016 that Modi started a drive to provide free cooking gas connections to women belonging to extremely poor households, therefore planning to reduce their dependence on polluting fuels like wood and dried cow. As per data from World Health Organization, these polluting fuels are responsible for 1.3 million premature deaths in India every year.

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After this drive was started in 2016, India saw a record distribution of 32.5 million new cooking gas connections.

"It's a game changer," Ong Han Wee, head of LPG team at Singapore-based Facts Global Energy told Bloomberg. "Never in history we have [sic] seen such huge LPG usage in India. LPG will remain main cooking fuel for India over next two decades."

The government plans to increase LPG usage to an extent that it covers 80% of the country’s households by March 2019; this number stood at 72.8% on April 1 2017.

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The fall in the demand of LPG in Japan could be because of its shift towards cheaper alternatives such as natural gas, says Ong.
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