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Union Minister Piyush Goyal Chairs Stakeholder Consultation to Enhance PESO Efficiency

New Delhi: Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, chaired a pivotal Stakeholder Consultation in New Delhi yesterday, focusing on enhancing the efficiency of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO). The consultation, convened by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), aimed to solicit insights and feedback from leaders in the petroleum, explosives, fireworks, and related industries.

Goyal emphasized the importance of balancing industry compliance with public safety. He announced significant concessions in licensing fees: an 80% concession for women entrepreneurs and a 50% concession for MSMEs for licenses granted by PESO. He also directed PESO to develop guidelines, in consultation with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), to create safety measure templates allowing petrol pumps to operate near habitation.

Highlighting technological advancements, Goyal mentioned the incorporation of QR codes for cylinders in the draft Gas Cylinders Rules (GCR), with the final notification expected soon. He also proposed the formation of a committee to explore the possibility of extending the validity of licenses for explosives, transport, and manufacturing to ten years, aligning with the duration for other licenses.

To streamline processes, the Minister called for greater involvement of Third Party Inspection Agencies (TPIAs) and the development of online permission modules for areas still operating offline. He also urged PESO to expedite the filling of vacancies within the organization.

In discussing licensing complexities, Goyal noted the need to amend Form XIV of the Petroleum Rules 2002 and Form G of the Gas Cylinders Rules to reduce compliance burdens and streamline PESO’s workload.

During the consultation, Goyal stressed the importance of simplifying PESO processes and adopting global best practices for regulating petroleum and explosives. PESO officers were instructed to adhere strictly to application timelines, and FAQs for different approvals and licenses were to be issued. The Minister also directed that No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from District Authorities should be issued through the Licensing System for District Authority (LSDA) online system.

Responding to industry suggestions, Goyal directed the formation of committees by MoPNG and relevant industry associations to detail and refine proposed suggestions. He also directed DPIIT to form a comprehensive committee comprising industry representatives, PESO officers, DPIIT officers, CPCB, MoPNG, and oil companies to work on the suggested reforms in a time-bound manner.

The consultation saw participation from over 150 stakeholders representing various sectors within the petroleum, explosives, and related industries. Industry associations such as the Federation of Agrivalue Chain Manufacturers and Exporters (FAME), Explosives Manufacturers Welfare Association (EMWA), Indian Ammonium Nitrate Manufacturers Association (IANMA), and All India Industrial Gas Manufacturers Association (AIIGMA) highlighted critical areas for regulatory improvement and operational enhancement.

Recommendations focused on enhancing digitalization and transparency through the PESO online portal, ensuring quick responses to inquiries, and timely issuance of NOCs and licenses.

PESO, a subordinate office under DPIIT, administers regulatory frameworks established under the Explosives Act, 1884, and the Petroleum Act, 1934. In recent years, PESO has undertaken significant reforms, including the introduction of a paperless licensing system, adherence to strict approval timelines, and the integration of TPIAs to simplify compliance procedures and bolster safety standards across industries dealing with hazardous substances.

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