New Delhi: There seems to be no respite for consumers from sky rocketing petrol and diesel prices.
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that it is not in the good interest of the general public for the government to intervene in the day-to-day business of the oil marketing companies.
He claimed that the government has market linked petroleum product prices in the interest of the consumers and said that multiple hike in excise duty by Centre since 2014 on petrol and diesel helps in funding of welfare programmes in the country.
According to analysts, government can easily reduce petrol and diesel prices and give relief to people by cutting excise duty on these two fuels.
The government had between November 2014 and January 2016 raised excise duty on petrol and diesel on nine occasions to take away gains arising from plummeting international oil prices.
The government is under tremendous political pressure as fuel prices are hovering around three years high in some parts of the country despite international crude oil prices nearly half of what they were in 2014.
While petrol prices have increased by Rs 7.32 to reach Rs 70.38 a litre in Delhi since July, the highest since August 2014, diesel rates have risen by `5.36 to Rs 58.72.
Mr Pradhan on Wednesday reviewed fuel price situation in the country with the senior official of the oil companies.
Defending hike in fuel prices, Mr Pradhan said that world refining capacity has come down by 13 per cent due to hurricane in USA due to which in last three months international petrol prices have jumped by 18 per cent and diesel by 20 per cent. However, he said that as per the indication from the market fuel prices will come down in coming days as situation stabilises in the international market.
On increase in excise duty on petrol and diesel by the government after it came to power, the minister said that the government needs money to fund the social welfare programmes for the benefit of the common man. “We have to fund massive highways and road development plans, railway modernisation and expansion, rural sanitation, drinking water, primary healthcare and education. Allocations on all these heads has gone up significantly. Where do we get resources for these,” he said.