Decontrolling of fuel prices necessary for good of country: PM

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Onboard Air India One, June 29 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, said that the deregulation of petrol prices was a much needed reform, and suggested that a similar exercise could be considered for the prices of kerosene and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) with adjustment.

Interacting with media onboard Air India One while enroute to New Delhi from Toronto, Dr. Singh said that the decontrolling of fuel prices had been effected after things had got crystallised in the government system.

"This was all necessary, considering the very high amount of subsidy that is implicit in the pricing structure of kerosene and LPG. We have taken due care to ensure that the poorer sections are affected to the least possible extent, and that is why, the attempt to keep under regulation the prices of kerosene and LPG," Singh said.

He said further decisions on deregulation would be taken up as per government system norms, and people would know of them as and when they took place.

When asked whether the hike in fuel prices had been taken under some sort of pressure, the Prime Minister replied in the negative.

"There is no pressure on the Government of India from any quarter. What we need is to do the right things by our country. The subsidies for petroleum products have reached a level, which is not connected to the sound financial management of our economy. So, it is taking into account that this decision has been taken to put some burden on the common people, but I think, it is manageable," Dr. Singh said.

When asked to comment on the opposition to the fuel price hike, Dr. Singh said that while he had heard of it in the press, he had not talked to anyone, nor had been briefed by the political establishment.

He said that in taking the step to adjust petroleum prices, the "people of India would appreciate the compulsions which have compelled us to undertake this measure. And, our people are wise enough to understand that excessive populism should not be allowed to derail the progress our country is making, and for which, it is winning international kudos as well." By Ashok Dixit (ANI)

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