India, the world's third-largest consumer of oil, has announced that it will release five million barrels of crude oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserves, said a Wam news agency report.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been consistently reviewing the high domestic prices of petrol and diesel," the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas said today as the rationale for releasing the crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves.
"In a bid to control inflationary pressures, the government of India had reduced the central excise duty on petrol and diesel on 3rd November. It was followed by reduction in VAT on fuel by many state governments."
High prices at filling stations have been causing hardships to Indians especially on account of excise duties and value added tax levied by the central and state governments. With the decline in Coronavirus infections and an uptick in economic activity, demand of petrol and diesel has considerably gone up in India recently.
Referring to the cuts in taxes and duties, the Ministry said: "these difficult steps, despite the high fiscal burden on the government, were taken in order to provide relief to citizens."
The release of strategic crude is being made in consultation with major energy consuming countries such as the US, China, Japan and South Korea.