After the deregulation of petrol price, the government had no say in its pricing, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here on Sunday, justifying the latest hike in petrol prices on the basis of the increase in the international prices of crude oil.
“Ever since June last year – when we took the decision to de-control and de-regulate petrol price – any decision to increase or reduce the petrol price is not taken by the government. This decision is taken by the oil marketing companies,” Mr. Mukherjee said.
Mr. Mukherjee said that when the decision was taken last June, crude prices were $68 a barrel in the international market; presently the price was $110.
“We continue to provide a lot of subsidy. Last year itself, the Centre has given a subsidy nearly worth Rs. 1 lakh crore,” Mr. Mukherjee said.
The Centre provided a subsidy of Rs. 16 for every litre of diesel, Rs. 26 for one litre of kerosene and Rs. 320 on every 14 kg cylinder of LPG, Mr. Mukherjee said.
Mr. Mukherjee is the chairman of the Empowered Group of Ministers, which is scheduled to meet next week, to consider a proposal to raise the prices of the subsidised petroleum products. “I cannot say what the EGoM will decide. The decision will be take when the meeting is held,” he said.