Petrol price hike needed to protect fiscal system: PM

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New Delhi, Feb 14 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today strongly defended the fuel price hike, virtually ruling out any roll-back in the wake of vehement criticism by the Left parties and the opposition alike.

''It is a marginal increase...You should look at the country's interest,'' Dr Singh told reporters who sought his reaction after a book release function at his official residence.

Asked whether the government would come under the Left pressure and take a u-turn, he said the ''fiscal system will collapse'' if the country was not sensitive to the rising oil prices in the international market and the consequent additional burder on the import front, he said.

Responding to questions, the Prime Minister said he would not like to comment on American officials remark that the US could not wait indefinitely for operationalising the nuclear deal with India and that it was now or never.

To a question on Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrina, he said the External Affairs Ministry would make the announcement on her visa extension.

Asked about the possibility of a Cabinet expansion, he said it would be known when it was done.


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