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HindustanTimes Wed,30 Jul 2014

Need to establish India as market with right practices: Dharmendra Pradhan

Anupama Airy, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 06, 2014
First Published: 12:00 IST(6/7/2014) | Last Updated: 12:02 IST(6/7/2014)

Inheriting a ministry that is caught in a web of controversies, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan faces some tough challenges. In an interview, Pradhan said he is confident of bringing about a change that will benefit the poor, while providing the right environment to do business in India’s oil and gas sector.

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On increasing LPG and kerosene prices every month....
Reducing the subsidy burden is a challenge but price rise is not the only solution. As the LPG price hike directly affects households and women’s interests, we will not increase its price as we have promised to keep the women’s interests in mind...but while we do so, we also have to target subsidies to those who actually need it.

On controversy over the new natural gas pricing formula....
The natural resources of this country belong to the people of India. The Rangarajan formula was used by the previous government — who used Japanese crude as a benchmark — to arrive at the price of gas. We will revisit the issue and come up with a price that benefits the users of gas while keeping the producers interests in mind too.

On reviving investors confidence....
We understand that any businessman — domestic or global — is here to make money. We have no problem with that but the question is how much. We have to establish India as a market with right practices and investors will automatically follow.

On discontinuing monthly hikes in diesel prices...
I am not fiddling with the existing pricing policy. At the same time, you cannot run a country’s economics on a fixed formula, so let us wait and watch. On freeing diesel prices, we shall see.

On targeting subsidies...
Am aware that the subsidy burden on LPG and kerosene has to be brought down but there is a larger mandate assigned by the people of this country on Narendra Modi. Price rise is not the only solution as there are other options available. Some employees of oil marketing companies have given up subsidy on LPG. If they can, why can’t others. I am confident that through consensus building, I can convince all those who have the capacity to pay should pay and say no to subsidies.


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