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Slippery slope: on India’s energy needs

India must diversify its energy basket more proactively.
India’s economic fortunes(संपत्ति/किस्मत) continue to be tied to the sharply(तेज़ी से) fluctuating(अस्थिर/घटना-बढ़ना) price of oil. At a gathering(समारोह/जनसमूह) of prominent(मुख्य/विशिष्ठ) oil ministers in New Delhi on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged oil-producing countries to reduce(कम करना) the cost of energy in order to aid the global economy in its path towards(रास्ते की ओर) recovery. Mr. Modi also called for a review of payment terms, demanding the partial(आंशिक/अधूरा) use of the rupee instead(बजाय/बदले में) of the U.S. dollar to pay for oil, in order to ease the burden(बोझ) on oil-importing countries in the wake of the strengthening(वृद्धि/बढ़ाव) of the dollar. With well over 80% of its oil demand being met through imports, India clearly has a lot at stake(दाँव/शेयर) as oil prices have risen(उठना/चढ़ना) by as much as 70% in rupee terms in the last one year. Notably, speaking at the same event, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid A. Al-Falih refused(अस्वीकृत) to openly commit to lower oil prices, opting(चुनना/पसंद करना) instead to say that the price of oil could have been much higher but for the efforts(प्रयासों/कोशिशें) taken by his country to boost(बढ़ावा/प्रोत्साहन) supply. This is not surprising given the absence of significant rival(प्रतिद्वंद्वी/विरोधी) suppliers in the global oil market willing(इच्छुक/अनुकूल) to help out India.

India’s policymakers(नीति निर्माताओं) now face the difficult task of safely steering(संचालित करना/परिचालन) the economy in the midst of multiple external headwinds. For one, the current account deficit(घाटा/अभाव) widened to 2.4% of gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2018-19 and is expected(उम्मीद/अपेक्षित होना) to reach 3% for the full year. The rupee, which is down about 16% since the beginning of the year, doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of recovery either. Further, the growth in the sales of petrol and diesel has already been affected(प्रभावित/त्रस्त) adversely(प्रतिकूल /विपरीत ढंग से) as their prices have shot through the roof. All this will likely weigh negatively on the prospects(संभावना) of the Indian economy, the world’s fastest-growing(बढ़ता हुआ), in the coming quarters. In this scenario(परिदृश्य ), the decision to marginally(मामूली/सीमांत रूप से) cut taxes imposed on domestic fuels is unlikely to be of any significant help to consumers. What is required is a steep cut in Central and State taxes for the benefit to carry through to the consumers, which, of course, is unlikely given the government’s fiscal(वित्तीय/राजकोषीय) needs. Another long-term solution to the oil problem will be to increasingly(वृद्धि से/विस्तार से) tap into domestic sources of energy supply while simultaneously(एक साथ) encouraging consumers to switch to green alternatives(विकल्प). This will require a stronger policy framework and implementation(अमल/कार्यान्वयन). In the short term, the government could look to diversifying(भिन्न करना/विविधीकरण/चित्रित करना) its international supplier base to manage shocks better. But such a choice carries geopolitical risks, such as in the case of Iran. Since it will take a length of time to wean the economy off oil imports, policymakers should also be willing to think beyond just the next election if India’s over-reliance on oil is to come to an end for good.


Important Vocabulary

Synonyms: affluence, capital, estate, inheritance, opulence
Antonyms: debt, poverty, hardship, misfortune

Synonyms: oscillate, seesaw, vary, veer, waver
Antonyms: remain, stay, continue, hold, persist

3.Sharply(तेज़ी से)
Synonyms: clearly, strongly, discernibly, distinctly, pointedly

Synonyms: bolster, build up, enhance, enlarge, establish
Antonyms: abridge, condense, curtail, decrease, destroy

Synonyms: banned, blocked, denied, disavowed, dismissed
Antonyms: allowed, permitted, consented to

Synonyms: pale, paling, picket, post, rod
Antonyms: whole

7.Opting(चुनना/पसंद करना) 
Synonyms: decide, elect, go for, prefer, cull
Antonyms: dislike, hate, refuse, reject

Synonyms: addition, advance, breakthrough, expansion, hike
Antonyms: decline, decrease, harm, lessening, loss

Synonyms: anxiety, concern, difficulty, duty, hardship, load
Antonyms: advantage, aid, assistance, benefit, blessing

Synonyms: limited,, imperfect, part, sectional, fractional
Antonyms: complete, entire, fair, just, total

11.Adversely(प्रतिकूल /विपरीत ढंग से)
Synonyms: negatively, skeptically, resentfully, unsympathetically, with prejudice

Synonyms: anticipation, chance, expectation, forecast, future
Antonyms: hopelessness, impossibility, unlikelihood

13.Scenario(परिदृश्य )
Synonyms: plot, scheme, book, outline, pages

14.Marginally(मामूली/सीमांत रूप से) 
Synonyms: kind of, lightly, marginally, somewhat, hardly
Antonyms: a lot, considerably, greatly

15.Diversifying(भिन्न करना/विविधीकरण/
Synonyms: expand, transform, alter, assort, change
Antonyms: continue, keep, remain, stay, conform

Synonyms: afflicted, concerned, damaged, distressed, impressed
Antonyms: OK, calm, collected, happy, sane

Synonyms: loss, shortfall, arrears, defalcation, default
Antonyms: abundance, adequacy, advantage, enough, perfection




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