Hyderabad: India’s rising oil import bill is a serious concern for the country, Union minister for commerce and industry Anand Sharma said on Sunday.
“Last year our oil import bill was $106 billion when the average crude oil price was at $55 to $60 per barrel. It hovered between $43 and $70. Now the oil price is $120 per barrel. It breached $125 mark and pulled back. It is not comfortable for India,” Sharma said.
Meanwhile, the minister hoped that there will be more trade movement between India and Pakistan after September.
“We are looking at what more can be done (with Pakistan). The commerce secretaries’ dialogue has taken place. We hope that from September onward there will be more movement,” he said.
Replying to query on the duty entitlement passbook (DEPB) scheme, the popular refund plan for exporters, he said, the scheme has been extended for three months from 30 June and secretaries concerned are working for a suitable and attractive replacement to the DEPB.
“We will not let the industry or exporters down. I had discussions with the finance minister a few days ago and he took onboard our concerns. So there is a three-month window created from July 1 during which the commerce and revenue secretaries would work out a scheme which is attractive to the exporters,” the Minister assured.