New Delhi: India is facing an “economic crisis” due to its huge oil imports, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday. Local channels claimed Gadkari said so ahead of a meeting of key ministers to discuss the falling rupee and the nation’s widening trade deficit.
Meanwhile, the spike in fuel prices had Finance Minister Arun Jaitley meeting oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan to look at options to mitigate its impact on the economy, sources said. The two ministers met on Wednesday evening amid concerns of high fuel prices adding to farmers’ distress, particularly in the upcoming Rabi crops season, sources said.
India, the world’s third biggest oil importer, depends on overseas markets to meet 80 percent of its oil. In the morning, investors were in for a rude shock as the sensex plunged+ 800 points in mid-day trade and rupee hit a new low of 73.77 against the US dollar, plunging 43 from the previous closing mark. The Government has been facing flak over the rupee plunging and the skyrocketing fuel prices.
Since mid-August, the petrol price has risen by Rs 6.59 a litre and diesel by Rs 6.37 – the most in any six weeks after the daily price revision was introduced in mid-June last year. Also on Monday, domestic cooking gas (LPG) rates were hiked by Rs 2.89 per 14.2-kg cylinder to Rs 502.40 on account of higher GST applicable on base price, according to oil companies. This is the fifth straight monthly increase in subsidised LPG rates. It was priced at Rs 491.21 in May.
Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla on Wednesday had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chalking out plans to reduce the skyrocketing fuel prices. “There has been no inflation under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi regime. However, the fuel prices have soared high. The Prime Minister is chalking out plans to reduce them,” he said.