In the face of widespread criticism over its decision to tax petroleum products heavily, interim finance minister, Piyush Goyal blamed the UPA and its mismanagement of finances.
Under UPA 2 petro products were heavily subsidised. And, when funds proved quiteinadequate the exchequer issued oil bonds (that had long-term maturity commitments).
Goyal says the NDA inherited Rs 1, 30,000 crore worth of oil bonds that will start maturing in the next four years. The NDA regime, he said, had already paid Rs 40,226 crore as interest on these bonds.
What the minister refrains from discussing, however, is how the NDA missed its chance to recoup losses. When crude oil prices were subdued, the NDA regime managed to clean up the books of oil companies, but didn't do anything about the oil bonds.
Had it done that, the government would have slashed its losses on interest on the oil bonds as well as their maturity value.
Anilesh S. Mahajan