Hardeep Puri promises to cushion consumers from oil shock in coming months - Times of India

Hardeep Puri promises to cushion consumers from oil shock in coming months – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The government on Monday assured that it will take all measures needed in the coming months to ensure that consumers get relief from high fuel prices and keep an eye on the possibility of supply disruption due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
India is also examining the issues related to Russia’s offer of crude at discounts, oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in reply to queries on high oil prices raised in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
Sharing data from the US, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Spain to show how petrol has become costlier by 50-58% in these countries against 5% in India.
“We should be rejoicing in that. Instead, we are hearing why prices have gone up,” he said. Oil prices, he observed, had shot up from $19.56 a barrel (in April/May 2020) to $130 at one stage and currently hovering around $109.
The current spike in oil prices is “emanating from a war-like situation”, he said referring to the Russia-Ukraine conflict without naming either country.
“But within that, whatever space we have, the margin of persuasion, we should continue to exercise that in the interest of the Indian citizen and the consumer,” Puri said.
On the issue of bringing petrol and diesel under the GST regime raised by Congress member Anand Sharma, Puri said the proposal “did not find favour” at the last GST Council meeting.
“States which are acquiring high revenue from the sale of petrol and petroleum products and — if I may also add, liquor — are normally reluctant to reduce their revenue from these two sources,” he said.
Referring to the November 4 excise duty reduction of Rs 10 on diesel and Rs 5 on petrol, Puri said “the government will in the coming months also take whatever measures we have to, to make sure that our consumer gets relief to the extent we can”.
Petrol and diesel prices, though deregulated, have not been raised since November 4 by state-run fuel retailers, who control 90% of the market, on informal advice from the government.
The government also continues to moderate cooking gas prices to cushion households from high prices, even though the benchmark price for LPG has shot up by 228% between April 2020 and February this year.
The government has not raised the price of 14.2-kg household refills since October 2021, even though the prices of 19-kg cylinders for open market sales have been increased a number of times, the last being on March 1.



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