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Oil, gas industry seeks infra status, lower taxes in budget

PTI | New Delhi |

The oil and gas industry has sought infrastructure status for the exploration and production sector as also lowering of taxes on locally produced oil to boost domestic output and cut import dependence.

It also wants inclusion of natural gas in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime at the earliest to boost the use of environment friendly fuel and help transition to a gas-based economy.

Vedanta Cairn Oil and Gas CEO Sudhir Mathur said that with the international oil prices breaching the USD 70 barrier, and India importing 80 per cent of its oil, the big challenge for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget 2018-19 will be to keep the fiscal deficit under control.

“The import bill for 2018 is estimated at Rs 5 lakh crore and any further rise in crude prices would necessitate tough fiscal measures,” he said in his budget wish-list.

The need of the hour, he said, is to give a boost to domestic oil and gas production, pushing the agenda to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of reducing dependency on imports by 10 per cent by 2022.

“The Budget is an opportunity for the government to introduce much-needed reforms that will encourage existing players to invest more, and attract new foreign investments to effectively tap the country’s energy potential,” he said.