Prime Minister Manmohan Singh batted for more deregulation of fuel prices even as his government faces the threat of withdrawal of support of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress over the petrol price hike.
“Well, that is the general direction in which we should move. I think the move to decontrol prices is a part of that process,” Singh said addressing a press conference after the G20 summit in Cannes.
While terming fuel prices a sensitive area, he said, “I have no hesitation in saying that ultimately we must allow the markets to find their own levels except for those commodities which are semi-public goods.”
The PM’s remarks came amid unprecedented political heat from the UPA’s allies over the latest petrol price hike while his government needed to rein in the subsidy bill.
Sources in the UPA told HT that when Mukul Roy, Banerjee’s emissary, spoke to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday evening, the Congress veteran gave almost the same logic and pointed out that the government aims further cuts in the fuel subsidy bill.
While the Congress hoped to hear the Centre’s measures to ease the latest fuel price burden from the aam aadmi’s shoulder, Singh emphasised on the roadmap to more decontrolling measures: “So, the direction of change is clear. We must move in the direction of decontrolling more prices,” he said.