Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee rebutted the argument that well-to-do owners of private cars are sucking up the tens of thousands of crores of rupees spent by the Government in the form of diesel subsidies.
Quoting figures, he said only 15% of India’s total diesel consumption is consumed by diesel cars.
“37% is used by trucks, 12% is used in buses,” he said, adding that the remaining is used in other crucial sectors like power generation, agriculture, industry etc..
In all, he said, India uses around 100 million tonnes of diesel a year.
Out of the total consumption of around 180 million tonnes of crude per year (about a fourth of which is exported again), diesel accounts for around 55% of India’s total crude usage (including for export).
Mukherjee pointed out that therefore there was a limit to how much the government can cushion the ordinary people by removing subsidies from the diesel used in private cars.
The finance minister was replying to a motion on price rise in the Lok Sabha, the house of the people of the Indian Parliament.
The Indian government is expected to fork out around Rs 1,00,000 crore ($21 billion) in subsidies to keep oil prices down this year. More than half of the amount goes towards diesel subsidies.
This was countered by JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who pointed out that an estimated 3 lakh (300,000) cellphone towers in the country run on diesel — sucking out