Petroleum minister Veerappa Moily announced on Friday that he will travel by public transport every Wednesday, starting October 9. All officials in his ministry, as well as oil PSU workers, will follow suit.
This is a part of the fuel conservation drive that can cut $5 billion from India’s oil import bill. India spent $145 billion in 2012-13 on oil imports, and is battling a record current account deficit (CAD), mainly due to the mounting oil import bill. CAD is the difference between the inflows and outgo of foreign exchange.
Some people within the government termed this a “political stunt”, clearly taking a leaf from the West where ministers often use public transport.
Moily said a circular is being issued to ask the officials to use public transport.
The minister, however, made it clear it would be voluntary. “I cannot punish anyone not taking the public transport, but I want everyone from the highest ranking officers to the lowest, to take public transport every Wednesday,” he said.
Moily is hopeful that this measure, and the `52-crore nationwide six-week campaign to propagate energy conservation would help taper demand.
Moily said he has also requested chief ministers, central ministries and PSU heads to declare one day of the week as ‘bus day’.