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Petrol hike unlikely before budget

The government is not likely to hike prices of petrol and other fuels, at least not until the budget, say informed sources.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 10, 2008 10:40 PM IST

Under pressure from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) constituents to avoid hard measures, the government is not likely to hike prices of petrol and other fuels, at least not until the budget, informed sources said on Sunday.

With 10 states going to polls this year, the government would like to ensure minimum inconvenience to people in the event of a price hike, sources in the petroleum and natural gas ministry said.

At a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday, the Left parties and Congress allies made a case before the prime minister, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister P Chidambaram for a populist budget.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora has been under pressure to increase oil prices keeping in mind spiralling global prices.

He said in Bangalore recently that the Left parties, which prop up the government, had given their views on the issue. He said the UPA government had not fixed any timeframe for a decision.

Giving details about the fuel price scenario the world over, Deora said that against a demand of 130 million tonnes of crude oil, India imported 102 million tonnes and efforts were on to reduce the amount being spent on the imports.

Deora said the government incurs a loss of Rs 720 billion annually towards subsidy for fuels like LPG and kerosene.

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