Fuel crisis ‘small storm’ for robust Indian economy: Official

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New Delhi, Sep 27 (IANS) The government sees the rising fuel prices and falling rupee as a “small storm” for an otherwise robust Indian economy which it expects to sail through due to various steps, a senior Finance Ministry official said on Thursday.

“Wherever we have control, we are trying to do those things to sail over this crisis. For example, curtailing non-essential imports is one of them, boosting exports is another, and reducing petrol and diesel consumption one of them,” he said.

“It’s a conservation issue. We are doing solar in a big way in India because solar is the future of India. So long-term solution to this petrol, diesel crisis is moving to non-conventional resources. Already our dependence on petrol and diesel has reduced quite a bit.”

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He said India is on a path of sustainable growth and still a preferred destination for foreign direct investment (FDI).

The government had on Wednesday hiked import duty on as many as 19 products, including air conditioners, household refrigerators and washing machines, to curb the import of non-essential items to check the burgeoning current account deficit.

The official said the list of import items on which duty was raised was done after scrutiny of essential and non-essential items, and after duly considering which items were available locally.

Among the 19 items was also aviation turbine fuel (ATF) on which the duty was raised to 5 per cent from earlier 0 per cent.

The official said that India is producing most of the ATF required and so the duty hike would not escalate airline fares.

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“Of the total usage of ATF consumption of Rs 30,000 crore, imports is of only Rs 1,100 crore, which is miniscule and will not impact the ATF price,” he said.

–IANS

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