Stepping into the oil ministry, where decision-making had slowed in the recent past, new Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily today expressed the confidence of "melting" away obstacles with quick calls.
A veteran Congress leader from Karnataka, Moily, 72, replaced S Jaipal Reddy under whom the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas was accused of being indecisive and almost halting oil and gas exploration. Mr Moily's induction comes in the midst of an on-going conflict between Reliance and the oil ministry over revising the cost of gas that the corporate giant is extracting from the Krishna-Godavari basin.
"It is politically volatile and sensitive ministry, but if you strongly go in quest of solutions, perhaps obstacles will melt away," Mr Moily said soon after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh carried out the much-awaited reshuffle of his Cabinet. Mr Moily will formally take charge of the Petroleum Ministry tomorrow morning.
From delaying approval to India's largest foreign direct investment (FDI) to being a reluctant party to fuel reforms, the ministry under Mr Reddy has been accused of being regressive and negative towards the industry during the past 22 months.
"I have always found in my administrative experience of 40 years that we need to have positive mind," Mr Moily said.
"As on today, (oil) demand is rising. So ultimately, it is energy security that has to be addressed. Delay will cost the nation and common people. We need to take decisions immediately," he added.
Mr Moily moves into the Oil Ministry from Ministry for Corporate Affairs. He also held additional charge of Ministry of Power since July-end when Sushil Kumar Shinde was elevated as Home Minister.
"I accept the responsibility with all humility. I have never been greedy about portfolios, whatever we have been given we have done with full responsibility. PM has lot of confidence in me, so does Sonia Gandhi. We have a big task before us, elections in 2014," Mr Moily said today.
Previously, Mr Moliy had also held the portfolio of law.