The government is keeping close tabs on the evolving Russia-Ukraine crisis leading to high crude oil prices and the extreme volatility in financial markets, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday.
“On the crude prices, it is very difficult to say how it will go. Even today in the FSDC (Financial Stability and Development Council), when we were looking at challenges to financial stability, crude was one of them. International worrisome situations… all these are headwinds,” said Sitharaman.
Brent crude prices are currently trading at a range of around $96 per barrel and are racing towards the $100 mark.
The high prices (of oil) are not the only problem, supply shortfall is also a challenge, Sitharaman said. The finance minister, however, said that the impact of the Russia-Ukraine tensions on trade was yet to be felt.
She also ruled out any extraordinary or special measures to cope with the implications of the current situation.
Asked if the government was looking at paring excise duties on fuel products, Ms. Sitharaman said: “I would like to remind you that a day before Deepavali, PM himself got prices lowered by ₹5 and ₹10 per litre on diesel and petrol, responding to public demand. Many States, I am very grateful, followed suit and the burden on the consumer was brought down. When it comes to that stage [where the government has to decide on taxes] it will come out publicly.”