Monday, 17 December, 2018

No going back on reforms, fuel price spike temporary: Dharmendra Pradhan

Oil minister backs daily fuel price revision Oil minister backs daily fuel price revision
Ben Pena | 13 September, 2017, 21:50

The government can not change fuel prices on a knee-jerk basis, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday on a day when stocks of state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) tanked by as much as eight per cent following recent hikes in transport fuel prices. "Thereafter, it has increased mainly because of rise in global oil prices", he said. When we started daily revisions on June 16, rates dropped in the first fortnight. He said, the daily revision immediately passes on the benefit of any reduction in global oil prices to consumers and avoids sharp spikes by spreading them in small doses.

The Minister said that about 13 per cent of the USA refining capacity got hit because of hurricanes and affected global oil prices.

"The government will not interfere in the day-to-day functioning of the OMCs... for the last three years, the pricing mechanism has been linked to the market", he said. Pradhan also passed the buck to Finance Ministry when he was asked about whether there is any chances of excise duty cut on petroleum product prices. "We have to fund massive highways and road development plans, railway modernisation and expansion, rural sanitation, drinking water, primary healthcare and education".

The excise duty hike resulted in the government's excise mop-up more than doubling to Rs 242,000 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 99,000 crore in 2014-15. "Where do we get resources for these", he said.

Petrol price in Delhi rose from Rs 65.48 per litre on June 16, when the daily price revision mechanism was implemented, to Rs 70.38 per litre on September 12. The windfall from the excise duty hikes has helped the government bridge its budgetary deficit.

Earlier this month, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan ruled out cutting taxes on petrol and diesel to cushion the impact of rising worldwide oil prices.

Al-Qaeda Promises Jihad Against Myanmar Over Rohingya Crackdown
On Monday the United Nations called it " a textbook example of ethnic cleansing ". The UN Security Council is due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the crisis.

At present, petroleum products have been put outside the Goods and Services Tax Bill ambit.

Going further, Dharmendra Pradhan also said that with more and more private sector players coming into the fuel retailing business, the sector will see more efficiencies from increased competition, leading to lower prices for the consumers.

Daily revision allows any fall in worldwide oil rates to be passed on to consumers immediately rather than having to wait for 15 days as in the old system, he added.

The Congress accused the Modi government of meting out "step-motherly treatment" to common man by raising petrol prices even as global crude oil prices were on the decline.

States are opposed to bringing petrol and diesel under GST as these are their major sources of revenue.

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