Decision on fuel price hike may come Wednesday

June 3rd, 2008 - 5:40 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) The government is set to take a decision on raising fuel prices soon, maybe as early as Wednesday after a meeting of the cabinet, foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee said here Tuesday. “We are still discussing the issue and a cabinet meeting is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday),” Mukherjee told reporters on the sidelines of a function organised by an industry body.

“We will take a decision soon. We will let you know,” Mukherjee replied when asked whether the issue will figure in the scheduled meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs.

Mukherjee, who will attend the cabinet meeting Wednesday morning before leaving for China on a bilateral visit, also called for “collective international intervention” to control the prices of energy products.

Alluding to the impact of rising global oil prices, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had Monday indicated an imminent fuel price hike.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora has been pushing for a Rs.10 a litre hike in petrol price, Rs.5 per litre increase in diesel price and Rs.50 per cylinder rise in cooking gas (LPG) price.

With prices of essential commodities escalating, the government is treading cautiously on any dramatic hike in prices of petrol, diesel and LPG.

“Inflation and growth need not go together,” Mukerjee said at the 87th annual general meeting of the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).

Extolling India’s sustained growth trajectory of nearly 9 percent per annum and a trillion dollar economy that has attracted over $20 billion in foreign investment, he called India “an important driver of growth in Asia and the world”.

In the same breath, he also underlined the government’s efforts at promoting inclusive growth and eradicating poverty, disease and hunger.

“However, 220 million people are still waiting to be lifted out of poverty, although the proportion of population below poverty line has declined considerably from 44 percent in 1983 to 22 percent in 2005,” he said.

“We have to make enormous efforts to achieve truly inclusive growth,” he stressed.

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