India oil minister slammed for plan to shut petrol stations at night
NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - India's opposition on Monday poured scorn on an oil ministry proposal to close petrol pumps at night, the latest in a series of ideas evoking India's austere past as the government grapples with a jarring fall in the value of the rupee.
The rupee has plunged almost 20 per cent since May, partly on concerns about the world's third-largest current account deficit, prompting government steps such as a ban on the free import of flat-screen TVs and curbs on buying hard currency.
Oil Minister Veerappa Moily on Monday appeared to back away from the proposal to close petrol stations from 8pm to 8am to lower consumption, after a public outcry and criticism by politicians ranging from the hard-right to communist parties.
"This will only hurt the country, and there will be no benefit," said Mr Yashwant Sinha, a former finance minister and senior member of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. "These are steps that will lead to more panic about the mismanagement of the economy in the country. I do not know why a responsible government minister would talk like this."