14 May, 2021

War Clouds Loom Over India Revival Story

Spikes in oil prices, declining exchange rate and large fiscal deficit are likely to exacerbate the slowdown and raise the cost of living

Photograph by PTI
War Clouds Loom Over India Revival Story

Rise in global oil prices ­following developments in West Asia could not spell more gloom for the Indian economy, which is facing challenges on many fronts, including fiscal deficit and slowing economic growth. Higher crude oil prices­—prices have risen 18 per cent during the October-December quarter and around $6 or 10 per cent during December—means a higher import bill for India, which depends on overseas supply for over 80 per cent of its crude oil needs.

“Tension in oil producing areas in the world impacts India,” said Dharmendra Pradhan, Union minister of petroleum and natural gas, at a public function recently. The impact will be more because of India’s rising fiscal deficit, which stood at Rs 8.08 trillion or 114.8 per cent of the ­budgeted target for the current fiscal year, according to government data for April and November 2019, ­released on December 31.

“Any rise in oil prices is bad news for us, especially as we are already staring at a large fiscal deficit,” says Sunjoy Joshi, chairman, Observer...

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