Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said the Empowered Group of Ministers headed by him would decide on the price hike of diesel, LPG and kerosene when it meets next week.  “A decision will be taken on raising prices of these items when the EGoM meets next week,” Mukherjee told reporters here after meeting Congress MLAs elected in the West Bengal Assembly elections.
He said that the government had no control over petrol prices as it had been deregulated in June 2010. “Decision on petrol prices is taken by oil marketing companies.” The state-run oil companies on Saturday hiked petrol prices by Rs 5 a litre. “For other petroleum products like diesel, LPG and kerosene there is the empowered GOM,” he said.

The finance minister said that the last time petroleum prices were increased was when it was at $68 per barrel, but now it was at $110 per barrel. A subsidy of Rs 26 was given on a litre of kerosene, Rs 16 on a litre of diesel and Rs 320 per cylinder of LPG, he said.

The Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) has pitched for an early decision on freeing of diesel prices, saying that oil companies are incurring huge losses on account of difference between domestic and international prices.

“At one time I felt that if inflation comes down to 7% it can be done. Since it is taking time for the inflation rate to come down, perhaps an earlier decision (to deregulate diesel prices) may be required,” PMEAC chairman C Rangarajan said.

He further said, “We cannot wait (for inflation to come down) because the OMCs are incurring a huge loss. It (deregulation) may happen sooner than later.”

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June 2021