New Delhi: India is looking at ways to keep rising fuel prices in check, its oil minister said on Monday, with retail rates for diesel and petrol touching record highs in capital city New Delhi and financial hub Mumbai.
Prices at the pump have surged on the back of rallying international markets for crude oil, which last week hit their strongest since late-2014 amid ongoing production cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
“Various alternatives are being looked at,” Dharmendra Pradhan said in a televised speech, adding that he would “work out something soon”. He did not give details.
Opposition leaders have criticised the government for failing to rein in rising fuel prices, a politically-sensitive issue in one of the world’s biggest econo-mies. India is particularly at risk from stron-ger global prices for crude oil as it is the No.3 importer of the commodity, buying about 80 per cent of its oil needs.
On Monday, industry lobby group FICCI called for an immediate cut in the excise duty on oil imports.
The cost of the growing thirst for oil around Asia will surpass $1 trillion this year, about twice as much as in 2015 and 2016, as oil prices touch $80 per barrel and continental demand hits a record.
Industry bodies Ficci and Assocham urged the government to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel immediately, observing that rising oil prices pose a high risk to India’s economic growth.