India is considering a plan to ban fuel sale at night, as it looks at solutions to cut its oil import bill, oil minister VeerappaMoily said.
Fuel sale ban proposal
Moily said the plan was one of many options the government was proposing. “Shutting petrol pumps during night is one of them. But we have not decided. It is just a proposal,” he explained.
India’s oil imports are one of the largest contributors to its widening current account deficit, which is a key area of concern for legislators. Moily said his ministry would also implement a conservation drive in an attempt to cut fuel demand by 3%.
The Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency said that cutting down fuel demand by that rate would help save around 160 billion rupees ($2.4 billion) in foreign exchange outflow from the country.
Effect of widening deficit
India has been struggling to hold its present account deficit, which is the largest measure of a country’s overall trade.
A deficit happens when a country’s import bill goes beyond its profit from exports and a widening deficit puts pressure on the country’s foreign exchange assets. India’s biggest opposition party raised concerns on whether the proposal to ban fuel sale at night would be effective.