Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said that the recent hike in the prices of petrol and diesel was to avoid increase in financial implications on the country's economy following hike in crude oil prices in the international market.
"In the international market, oil prices have increased three times during the last two years and to avoid its implication on the country's economy, there was no other go but to increase the prices of petrol and diesel ... Precautionary steps were taken to see that the common man was not affected by the hike," he said, addressing a Congress delegation.
The delegation, led by Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Mallikarjuna Kharge, met him at Raj Bhavan and requested him to take steps to prevent the steep increase in the prices of essential commodities, according to a KPCC release.
Singh said the crude oil prices, which was 23 dollars per barrel when the UPA Government came to power in 2004, had increased to 70 dollars, due to which oil companies in the country had to bear an additional burden of Rs 73,000 crore. "We were forced to increase the prices of petrol and diesel to avoid oil refineries from incurring further loss."