Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday reiterated that India can ill afford an oil import bill of $164 billion out of its total import bill of $491 billion in 2012-13.
In his valedictory address at Petrotech 2014 that concluded on Wednesday, Chidambaram said “A developing country like India cannot afford such a huge import bill or such a high level of CAD (Current Account Deficit). Therefore, we were constrained to take some hard measures, including conservation measures and these measures have helped us contain the CAD.
Referring to the CAD, the difference between inflow and outflow of foreign exchange, he said it would be contained at $50 billion in the current fiscal.
India’s CAD soared to the all-time high of $ 88.2 billion or 4.8 per cent of the GDP in 2012-13. The government had taken several measures, including curbs on gold imports, to contain the CAD.
As regards the oil import bill, the Finance Minister said of the total imports of $491 billion in 2012-13, oil imports accounted for $164 billion.
India’s economic growth slipped to decade low of 5 per cent in 2012-13 and in the current fiscal it estimated to be around the same level. It grew by over 9% before it was hit by the global crisis of 2008.
Chidambaram expressed hope that the revised growth estimates for 2012-13 were likely to be better than the earlier projections.
The government is scheduled to come out with revised growth estimates for 2012-13 on January 31 and the advance estimates for the current fiscal on February 7.