ONGC prefers 'windfall profit tax' to subsidies

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Kochi, July 26 (UNI) The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) favours the imposition of a ''windfall profit tax'' on oil companies, as demanded by the Left parties, in view of the ''exponential increase'' in crude oil prices, its CMD R S Sharma said here today.

Addressing a press conference here, he said similar taxes have been imposed in other countries also and '' ONGC will be happy to share its windfall profits''.

Favouring an ad valorem cess on crude, Mr Sharma said the additional revenue should be utilised to abolish the subsidies given by the Government to make up for the under-recoveries of the oil marketing companies.

''Subsidies should be done away with. The imposition of cess would be a more transparent system,'' he opined.

The Government might take a decision on the matter after receiving a report from the high-power B K Chaturvedi Committee, set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently to examine the financial status of the oil companies, Mr Sharma said.

The ONGC chief said a part of the increased burden should be passed on to the consumers as at present there was no ''economisation'' in the demand of petroleum products.

As against the annual global increase of 1.2 per cent in petroleum demand, India was witnessing an increase of 4.5 per cent.

The demand for diesel was growing at the rate of 20 to 25 per cent, he said.

UNI ARC GD SG KP1636

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