Govt working on holistic solution to rising petrol price: Minister

Govt working on holistic solution to rising petrol price: Minister

Union Minister for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Skill Development, Dharmendra Pradhan with MoS Anant Kumar Hegde (R) release booklets during a press conference on 48 months achievements and initiatives of his ministry under the NDA government rule, in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

The government is working on a holistic solution to price volatility of petrol without reversing reforms, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday.

"The government will take a holistic view (of the situation) so that petrol prices do not pinch. The government will do all that is possible," he said at a news conference to highlight the government's achievement in four years.

Blaming geopolitics of oil, exchange rate fluctuations and local taxes for petrol and diesel prices touching a record high, he said the government is sensitive and will ensure that "poor, the middle class are not pained."

Asked if the solutions under consideration include a partial rollback of fuel price deregulation, he said, "Not at all."

"This question doesn't arise. This government is a pro-reform government and we cannot go back on what we have reformed," he said.

The government had deregulated or freed petrol pricing from its control in June 2010 and diesel in October 2014. It allowed revision of prices on a daily basis since mid-June last year to reflect changes in cost instantly.

"We will not allow prices to go out of reach of the common man," he said.

Pradhan refused to say if the solutions proposed include asking oil producers like ONGC cough-up some money so that fuel can be subsidised, like it used to do till 2015. "I cannot discuss the solutions being considered," he said.

However, the minister parried questions on Centre cutting excise duty as a relief to the common man.

He said taxes on petrol and diesel are made up of excise duty charged by the Centre, and Sales Tax (VAT) charged by state governments.

The taxes levied by states should be "reasonable and responsible," he said refusing to be drawn into the debate on most BJP states refusing to cut VAT.