Bureaucrats and officials are being threatened by the oil trade lobbies that do not want India to become self sufficient in energy, according to petroleum and natural gas minister M Veerappa Moily.
M Veerappa Moily takes charge as petroleum minister at Shastri Bhavan in New Delhi. HT/Sanjeev Verma
“India imports 80% of its oil requirement and spends an astronomical $160 billion (or Rs. 9.6 lakh crore) on oil imports every year… Of course, the oil traders’ lobby is very happy with this increasing burden and would actually want India to import 100% of its oil requirements,” he told HT.
He did not name anyone while sticking to his stated position. On June 14, Moily had caused a stir by saying powerful oil import lobbies threatened every petroleum minister in the country to deter them from taking decisions that could cut oil imports.
The minister also described the decision to increase domestic gas prices as a bold one. Controversy has engulfed India’s new natural gas pricing regime. After stiff opposition from various political quarters, the issue is currently in the Supreme Court.