Govt may hike fuel prices, reduce excise duty

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New Delhi, Dec 10 (UNI) The Goverment today said it may hike fuel prices and cut excise duty to offset the mounting losses of oil marketing companies (OMCs) in the face of spiralling global crude prices.

''The committee formed to look into pricing of petroleum products may recommend the price hike,'' Petroleum and Natural Gas Secretary M S Srinivasan said on the sidelines of a seminar on 'Safety Competencies in Refining, Gas Processing and Petrochemicals' here.

The Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, may also recommend cut in excise duty on the fuels, he said.

OMCs such as Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum are together losing over Rs 250 crore per day on sale of petrol, diesel, domestic cooking gas LPG and kerosene.

Petrol is being sold at a loss of Rs 8.74 a litre, diesel at Rs 9.92 per litre, kerosene Rs 20.53 a litre and LPG at a loss of Rs 256.35 per cylinder.

The high-powered GoM, formed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh late last month which is to report back to the Cabinet in a month's time, is scheduled to meet for the first time on December 14.

The other members of the GoM include Defence Minister A K Antony, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister T R Baalu, Consumer Affairs Minister Sharad Pawar and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora.

The current projected annual under recoveries on petrol, diesel, PDS kerosene and domestic LPG are estimated to exceed Rs 69,700 crore, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora had earlier said, adding that out of these, about Rs 33,600 crore are on account of domestic LPG and PDS kerosene.


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