No option was left but to hike fuel prices: PM

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday said no option was left but to hike prices of petroleum products, particularly since the cost of crude oil, of which India is a major importer, had shot up in global markets.

‘The subsidy on petroleum products has been increasing every year. It had become necessary, therefore, to increase the prices of petroleum products,’ the prime minister said in his Independence Day address here.

‘If this had not been done, it would not have been possible for our budget to bear the burden of subsidy and our programmes for education, health and employment of the poor would have been adversely affected.’

The prime minister said even though India imported about 80 percent of crude oil needs, and prices had shot up significantly, the hike in the prices of cooking and transport fuels was comparatively much less compared.

The government had taken a major policy decision end-June to free petrol pricing from administrative controls and hiked prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas, which was criticized by all opposition parties.

As a result, petrol became dearer by Rs.3.50 per litre, diesel by Rs.2 a litre, kerosene by Rs.3 a litre and cooking gas by Rs.35 per cylinder.

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