NEW DELHI (INDIA): India’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan formally launched BS-IV grade transportation fuels across the country from Bhubaneswar today. The event coincided with Utkal Divas (formation day of the State) being celebrated in Odisha.nnTo mark the historic occasion of the launch of BS-IV fuels across the country, the Hon?ble Minister symbolically commenced sale of the eco-friendly and low-emission fuels from 12 different locations across the country through live video links – Varanasi, Vijayawada, Durgapur, Gorakhpur, Imphal, Bhopal, Ranchi, Madurai, Nagpur, Patna, Guwahati and Shillong.nnAt the event, the Petroleum Minister also handed over a deposit-free domestic LPG connection under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana(PMUY) scheme to Swalia Bibi of Shikharchan Basti in Bhubaneswar to mark the completion of release of 2 crore LPG connections to women beneficiaries from below poverty line (BPL) households across the country under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana(PMUY).nnThe Minister reiterated the Ministry?s commitment to holistic vision of Hon?ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi. He said that with the launch of the BS IV Fuel , a new era of clean transportation fuels has begun. This era will benefit all citizens of our country by substantially reducing pollution levels everywhere.nnPradhan said that from today India will have ?Only BS-IV? fuels. He complimented the OMCs for working in unison to set up refining infrastructure and logistics in record time for the launch of BS-IV grade fuels across the country as per schedule. The OMCs are incurring an expenditure of Rs. 90,000 crore on phase-wise upgradation of fuel quality in the country.nnHe said that even though India is not a major polluting country, we shall stand by Hon?ble Prime Minister?s commitment at COP-21 in Paris that India will substantially reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. Migration to BS-IV fuels shows India?s resolve to cut down emissions. The next step is to usher in BS-VI fuels by 1st April, 2020, to be at par with global standards, he said.nnSpeaking about the new milestone crossed by the PMUY scheme, Shri Pradhan said that the Government is fully committed to providing sustainable, clean and affordable energy as an essential input for economic development of India, which has emerged as the fastest going economy in the world. He said that the resounding success of initiatives like PaHaL, GiveItUp and the ongoing PMUY scheme are ample proof of the effectiveness of these socio-economic welfare schemes, which go a long way in ensuring energy inclusion of the poor.nnPradhan expressed his happiness that the journey of PMUY started by the Hon?ble Prime Minister to transform the lives of BPL women across the country has crossed the 2 crore mark at Bhubaneswar today. He said in Odisha alone, PMUY has benefited 10 lakh BPL households and freed them from smoke-related hazards.nnThe Petroleum Ministry is vigorously pursuing various other forms of energy such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) for industries and transport sector, compressed natural gas (CNG) and AutoLPG for automobiles, and piped natural gas (PNG) for households, besides ethanol and bio-mass to expand the existing energy basket, he added.nn India?s Path to Green FuelsnnThe increasing consumption of oil is directly linked to atmospheric pollution, and the health impact of the deteriorating ambient air quality linked to combustion of fuels is of serious concern in urban areas worldwide.nnThe Government of India has taken several policy measures and significant interventions to reduce vehicular emissions and improve fuel efficiency. India has followed the regulatory pathway for fuel quality and vehicle emissions standards termed as Bharat Stage (BS). The transition has been in phases, considering the time and money that is required at the refinery end and in terms of vehicle production.nn· India?s fuel quality standards have been gradually tightened since the mid-1990s. The fuel upgradation programme took off with notification of vehicular emission norms for new vehicles in 1991.nn· The emission norms were revised in 1996. Low-lead gasoline was introduced in 1994 in the four metros, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.nn· On Feb 1, 2000, unleaded gasoline was mandated nationwide.nn· BS 2000 (Euro I equivalent, Bharat Stage I) vehicle emission norms were introduced for new vehicles from April 2000.nn· Bharat Stage II (Euro II equivalent) emission norms for new cars were introduced in Delhi from the year 2000 and extended to the other three metro cities in the year 2001.nn· The emission norms for CNG and LPG vehicles were notified in the year 2000 and 2001, respectively. BS-III was implemented in phases during 2005-2010.nn· The current BS-IV fuel with 50 ppm (parts per million) sulphur was introduced in the year 2010 and it was to cover the entire country by 1-4-2017.nn· In 2016, the Govt. of India decided to meet international best practices by leapfrogging directly from BS-IV to BS-VI norms by skipping BS-V altogether by 1st April, 2020.nn· As the technology for BS V is not very different, it was rightly decided to go straight to BS VI grade fuels from BS IV.nn· As part of its focus on clean energy, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas is actively promoting city gas distribution networks and connecting major cities with ?green highways,? which will have vehicles running on CNG and LNG with adequate re-fuelling stations.nn· Lakhs of households are getting the benefits of piped natural gas (PNG) supplies.nn· 27.5 lakh vehicles in the country are benefiting from availability of CNG.nn· So far, 80 cities / districts of 19 States/UTs have been covered for development of PNG/CNG network.