Energy price, availability among short-term challenges for Indian economy - Finance Minister

Energy prices and availability are among the biggest problems facing the Indian economy in the near future, India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday.

Energy price, availability among short-term challenges for Indian economy - Finance Minister
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks during a side event on the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, 14 July 2022. Made Nagi/Pool via REUTERS

Oct 11 (Reuters) - Energy prices and availability are among the biggest problems facing the Indian economy in the near future, India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday.

Citing the challenges as external, she mentioned energy costs in the context of previously fulfilled environmental commitments.

"But at this stage, if natural gas is going to be beyond our means, obviously you're looking at reverting to coal to an extent because you need the base level of electricity to be generated," Sitharaman said at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution in Washington. "And that just cannot be done only through solar or wind energy."

Sitharaman, speaking of the priorities as India prepares to occupy the presidency of the Group of 20 nations in December, said multilateralism will be a key topic.

"Multilateral institutions and their strength will have to be talked about," she said, pointing out that the current presidency and the one after India will be held by emerging economies.

"So their voice, their priorities, will also have to find some kind of traction."

She said global issues are being discussed at that level but it is important for solutions to come out as well.

"Institutions should be robust to give solutions. We find in the last few decades institutions have existed, but problems remain. Solutions are not coming to them. So make them far more effective to work together. In that, I think the G-20 has a particularly unique role to play."

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jonathan Oatis Editing by Alistair Bell