The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has convened a meeting this week to finalise a hike in imports of crude oil from Tehran to reduce dollar outflow.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily had submitted an action plan to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, suggesting measures to cut the oil import bill by around $25 billion. The measures include increasing crude oil imports from Iran, which would save India around $8.5 billion in dollar payments as New Delhi pays Iran in rupee terms for the oil purchases.

The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Pulok Chatterjee, has called a meeting this week to discuss measures to reduce the oil import bill.

The meeting will be attended by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, Petroleum Secretary Vivek Rae, Commerce Secretary S.R. Rao and Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram. India, which imported crude oil worth $144.3 billion in 2012-13, has spent $47.13 billion on oil imports in first four months of current fiscal.

The government has already asked state-owned oil marketing companies to keep crude imports at the 2012-13 level of 105.96 million tonnes, which will save $1.76 billion in foreign exchange.

Mr. Moily has suggested that by importing 11 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran during the rest of the fiscal, India could end up saving around $8.47 billion in foreign exchange. About two million tonnes of crude oil has been imported from Iran so far during the current financial year.

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