On a day when petrol crossed the Rs 100 mark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the middle-class would not have been burdened if the previous governments had focussed on reducing India's energy import dependence.
Without referring to the relentless increase in retail fuel prices, which are linked to international rates, he said India imported over 85 per cent of its oil needs in the 2019-20 financial year and nearly 53 per cent of its gas requirement.
"Can we be so import dependent? I don't want to criticise anyone but I want to say (that) had we focussed on this subject earlier, our middle-class would not have been burdened," he said at a function to inaugurate oil and gas projects in poll-bound Tamil Nadu.
Price of petrol crossed the Rs 100 per litre mark in Rajasthan after fuel rates were hiked for the ninth day in a row.
Since India imports majority of its oil needs, retail rates are benchmarked to international prices, which have spiralled in recent weeks.
Modi said his government is sensitive to concerns of the middle-class and so has focussed on raising share of ethanol mixing in petrol.
Ethanol extracted from sugarcane will help cut imports as well as give farmers an alternate source of income.
India, he said, is looking to cut energy import dependence as well as diversify its sources to reduce risks.
The focus now is also towards using renewable sources of energy, which will by 2030 form 40 per cent of energy generated in the country, he said.
Also, the government is working towards raising the share of natural gas in the energy basket to 15 per cent from the current 6.3 per cent and is committed to bringing it under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime to eliminate cascading effect of multiple taxes, he added.