No move to hike diesel, LPG prices: Govt
PTI MUMBAI PETROLEUM and Natural Gas Minister, Jaipal Reddy on Monday said there was no proposal at the moment before the Government to hike diesel, domestic LPG cylinder and kerosene price.
He also said that no timeframe has been fixed for the meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) to consider such a hike.
“We are not considering any hike in prices of diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene. It is out of question right now,’’ Reddy told journalists after his meeting with the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to discuss the impact of fuel price hike on inflation.
Reddy also stressed the need to convene a meeting of the EGoM at the earliest to tackle the issue of heavy losses being incurred by the oil marketing companies (OMCs) on the sale of diesel, LPG and kerosene at a subsidised price.
The Chief Economic Adviser Kaushik Basu was also present at the inter-ministerial grouping on inflation. The EGoM on fuel prices, headed by Mukherjee, has not met since June last year.
Reddy said the meeting was not convened to discuss diesel, LPG and kerosene prices but to discuss the inflationary impact.
“I was requested to come and offer my insights before they finalise the inter- Ministerial group recommendations.
I focused on the price of diesel and its impact on inflation as a whole. In my perception, the EGoM will not meet any soon. Not at least this month,’’ he added.
However, officials in the OMCs said that next review of the petrol prices will come up on June 1
The government is still trying to cool tempers of its allies who had protested against the petrol hike before biting the bullet on the diesel, LPG and kerosene issue.
The government had on May 24 effected the steepest price hike of Rs 7.54 per litre in the price of petrol drawing protests from the opposition, UPA allies and within the Congress party.
Meanwhile, in view of the widespread protests over increase in price of petrol, Mukherjee is expected to write to state chiefs to consider cut in sales tax on petrol to partly neutralise the impact of price hike on consumers.
“We are awaiting inputs from the Petroleum Ministry.
Finance Minister will be asking the state Chief Ministers to lower duties,” an official said.
India’s capital Delhi, northern Uttarakhand state and southern Kerala state have already announced cut in VAT on petrol.
Earlier too, the Centre had asked the states to sacrifice a part of the revenue to reduce the burden of price hike on consumers. Several states then had responded to this call and reduced sales tax or Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol.
Industry body Assocham has also demanded that the Centre and states should cut taxes to reduce the burden on auto users.
The Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) last week had increased the price of petrol by over Rs 7.5 per litre in view of high crude oil prices and rupee depreciation.
The decision evoked sharp reaction from several quarters, including allies of the ruling United Progressive Alliance.
In this backdrop, the government has decided not to increase prices of diesel, kerosene and LPG (cooking gas) for now.