NEWS CORONA OIL BILL
KOCHI: On one front, India is set to gain hugely from the present three-week lockdown of the nation — from the savings it will have on import bills; oil being the main spend for the past several years. India, one of the major oil consumption nations, can expect to have a windfall in terms of saving precious foreign exchange spend.
According to the Union government’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), the nation spent $112 billion on oil imports in the previous fiscal (2018-19), which was a rise from 88 billion the year before. For the present fiscal, projections were of a spend of $113billion.
India’s oil production is showing a steady decline. ONGC production fell by over 1million tonnes to 19.6million tonnes the previous fiscal.
Production/extraction by private firms too is showing a decline, it standing at around 9million tonnes. Meanwhile, the country’s oil consumption grew by 2.6 per cent the previous fiscal, to a high of 211 million tonnes.
Since India’s manufacturing sector is not picking up due to invasion of Chinese goods and lethargy on the part of Indian industry, much of the imported oil is burnt up by vehicles in the streets and on the highways. This is not helping the nation in any way. Had oil been used in substantial manner in the productive sectors, India could still have benefited from the heavy spend it does for oil imports.
Indian leaderships woke up to the benefits of mass transport systems like Metro Rail late. Else, it could have controlled the penchant among the middle class to engage in a proliferation of vehicles. While oil producing nations can afford to encourage such a scenario, as in UAE or Saudi Arabia, India cannot.
India depends on import for 81 per cent of its oil demand. –IHN-NN
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