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PM hints at raising LPG prices

In his I-Day speech, he says there is a limit to subsidising petroleum products in the face of rising import costs.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2006 13:38 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday promised to check the prices of essential commodities but hinted that prices of fuel could rise.

"I know that each of our families is concerned about the prices of essential commodities," the prime minister said in his independence day address from the Red Fort in Delhi.

"Let me assure you that we will do whatever is required to keep prices under check. But I must remind you that two years ago the international price of oil was just over $30 per barrel, but today it is close to $75.

"Even though world oil prices have more than doubled, we have succeeded in insulating our consumers to a great extent. Prices of kerosene and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) have not been raised," he said.

"But there is a limit to which we can go on subsidising the consumption of petroleum products in the face of rising import costs. How much more can the government treasury bear this burden?" the prime minister queried, giving a clear hint that fuel prices could go up.

He said by continuing to subsidise fuel prices, the government was curtaining its ability to spend on other important development programmes.

"In order to keep food prices within the reach of the common man, we have even allowed the import of some products to meet the shortage in our markets."