There has been a 39.6 per cent increase in the import cost of petroleum products in the last four years between 2016-17 and 2020-21.
According to official data of the ministry of petroleum, compared to $10.6 billion incurred by the exchequer on import of petroleum products during 2016-17, the cost went up by 39.6 per cent to $14.8 billion in 2020-21.
Also from 2016-17 onwards, the cost of importing petroleum products has consistently gone up. In 2017-18 it was $13.6 billion, in 2018-19 it further jumped to $16.3 billion, while in 2019-20 it inched higher to $17.7 billion.
Though the cost incurred in 2020-21 ($14.8 billion) was lower than the money spent for the purpose in 2019-20 ($17.7 billion), official sources said that the cost of importing petroleum products has been increasing, as global crude prices had seen a sharp increase in the recent past.
They further said that domestic price of crude is linked to international benchmarks (prices) of crude prices. These benchmarks get affected by many factors including supply and demand, impact of the Covid scenario and the prevailing geopolitical situation. Linear co-relation between pricing and any one of these factors in isolation is indeterminable, they added.
Meanwhile to ensure uninterrupted supply of petroleum products in the country, public sector undertakings (PSUs) import petroleum products to bridge the supply demand gap in the domestic market.