Non-oil trade deficit to be much lower in current fiscal: Assocham

NEW DELHI: The non-oil trade deficit in the current financial year is likely to be much lower at $65-72 billion as against the $81.8 billion in 2012-13 on account of curbs on gold imports, according to an Assochamstudy. 

"Thanks to some tight leash on the 
gold imports by way of restrictions and 10 per cent customs duty coupled with demand slowdown for industrial imports, it is the non-oil deficit which is projected to be much lower in the current financial year than 2012-13," the study found. 

However, the oil trade deficit -- difference between imports of crude oil and export of petro-products -- is likely to be higher in the current fiscal. 

"Exports of petro-products may not see significant rise as the installed refining capacity would remain more or less the same. As a result, the oil trade deficit may exert pressure again and may exceed the last year's level of $109 billion," the study revealed. 

The worries on this head (oil trade deficit) are not likely to go off because of continuing pressure on the crude oil prices in the international markets, the study found. 

While in the first quarter, the non-oil gap was about $24 billion, it is seen at slowing down in the subsequent quarters ending the year between $65-72 billion for the FY 2013-14, it said. 

India needs is an urgent holistic energy policy so that a lot of investment can be attracted in the exploration of both crude and natural gas. Policies governing pricing to be paid to the contractors should be fixed in a transparent manner, the study suggested. 

Besides, over-dependence on the oil sector for raising 
taxation revenue both by the Centre and the state governments should be reduced, it said.