G-20 to call Energy Ministers'' meet on rising oil prices

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Chandra Shekhar

Paris, Feb 20 (PTI) Concerned over volatile crude oilprices impacting the growth process, G-20 leaders have decidedto call a meeting of the Energy Ministers of member countriesto address the issue.

"It has been decided that there will be a meeting of theenergy ministers to address the problem of energy prices,"Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said after theconclusion of a meeting of G-20 finance ministers and centralbank governors.

Crude oil prices have crossed USD 100 a barrel in theinternational market. The high crude oil prices adverselyimpact oil importing nations, fuelling inflation and pushingup prices of other commodities.

"There should be international cooperation to preventvolatility of commodity prices," Mukherjee said.

In view of the spurt in crude prices, oil marketingcompanies (OMCs) in India had raised the price of petrol byabout Rs 2.5 per litre last month.

There is also pressure on the Indian government to raisethe prices of diesel in line with rising international prices.

The government, however, has been resisting such a move as itwill adversely impact inflation.

The G-20, which is currently under the presidency ofFrance, has already decided to host a meeting of theAgriculture Ministers in May to address the issue of risingfood prices.

The date for the meeting of the Energy Ministers of theG-20 nations will be decided later on.

According to a recent World Bank report, rising commodityprices have already pushed 44 million people into poverty indeveloping countries.

"No country can address the problem of food inflationunless there is a concerted global effort," Mukherjee said,adding that massive funds were needed to promote the growth ofagriculture and allied sectors.

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