An energy crisis in Europe triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war has led to a global rise in gas prices, forcing India to hike Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and piped natural gas (PNG) prices by 40 per cent. Indraprasth Gas Limited, which operates in the national capital, has also posted only a 4 per cent rise in profits, since the higher gas rates have affected its margins. Amidst these headwinds, Sukhmal Kumar Jain has taken over as chairman of IGL, months after being appointed Director of marketing at Bharat Petroleum Corporation.
Actively involved in implementation of policies
In a career spanning more than 35 years, Jain has served as the chairman of Central UP Gas (CUGL), which is a subsidiary of IGL, and was also on the board of Bharast Gas Resources Limited. He has been part of major schemes including the Pradhanmantri Ujjwala Yojana and also an initiative which encouraged people who could afford to pay for LPG cylinders to give back their subsidy. The idea was to make the essential resource more affordable for those who can’t pay for it.
Investing in greener pastures
As India tries to move towards clean fuel options, IGL has plans to spend Rs 8000 crore in the next five years on its CNG network, while it has also launched a cafe for battery swapping, to drive forward India’s electric revolution. Although the state-owned joint venture of BPCL and GAIL is considered a lucrative stock, recent price rises had affected the firm. But the appointment of Jain has triggered a 7 per cent rise in its stock prices.
When the government was pushing for divestment from BPCL, the Securities and exchanges board of India (SEBI) had refused to exempt the buyer from making an open offer to acquire IGL along with it. But the chances of privatisation were eliminated when plans to sell BPCL were stalled.