Petrol and diesel prices rose for the 12th day today. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Centre, States Mulling Policy To Curb Fuel Prices, Says Piyush Goyal

The central and state governments, along with public sector oil companies, are working on a policy to keep fuel prices in check in the long term.

The policy will aim for long-term stability of petrol and diesel prices so that customers do not have to bear the entire burden of rising international oil prices, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters today. It will also ensure that the Centre and states earn enough revenue for social sector schemes, he added.

After a 19-day freeze ahead of the Karnataka elections, state-run oil marketers have increased prices of petrol and diesel for 12 days in succession amid rising political pressure on the Narendra Modi government. Petrol and diesel are costlier by Rs 3 a litre and Rs 2.77 a litre, respectively, since May 14, when oil marketing companies resumed daily price revisions.

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Goyal said the Goods and Services Tax Council, at its next meeting, is expected to discuss bringing petrol and diesel under the indirect tax regime. That’s one of the options before the government as it looks to arrest spiralling retail prices, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said on Thursday.

The government is also keeping an eye on whether the increase in global oil prices is sustainable or due to factors like elections in Venezuela and production cuts by member nations of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. “The petroleum and finance ministries are taking a long-term view on the policy,” Goyal said at an event organised by India News.

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The Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said today that OPEC and its allies are likely to gradually revive oil output in the second half of the year to ease consumer anxiety as prices trade near $80 a barrel.