India fails to bite the bullet to cut fuel demand
NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - India's oil minister shied away from introducing comprehensive energy subsidy cuts on Tuesday, instead calling on his countrymen to embrace car pooling, buses and cycling as well as staggered working hours in a bid to curb fuel consumption.
The struggling Asian economy - the world's fourth-largest user of energy - is battling a weak rupee that has increased the price of oil products as economic growth has halved to 4.4 per cent from the 8-9 per cent seen in the boom years.
Delhi is also seeking to rein in a record current account deficit that is in part fuelled by energy imports.
M. Veerappa Moily told a news conference on Tuesday he hoped to save US$5 billion (S$6.2 billion)from fuel conservation measures even as he shied away from substantial measures such as raising diesel and other fuel prices as the electoral cycle hots up with polls due to be held by May 2014.