No question of fuel price rollback: Pranab

Kolkata, July 4 (IANS) The government has no intention of rolling back the fuel price hike, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here Sunday.

‘There is no question of a roll back,’ Mukherjee said, answering queries by reporters on the sidelines of a seminar here.

His comments come even as the Left parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance have announced a shutdown Monday to protest the fuel price hike.

Referring to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) hiking the repo rates, the rate at which banks borrow from the RBI, he said it was an ‘appropriate and welcome measure’.

‘So far as the interest rates are concerned, 25 basis points enhancement in the repo and reverse repo rate is appropriate and a welcome measure.

‘And I do hope it will be subsumed in the new policy statement which will be made by the RBI in the later part of this month on July 27,’ the finance minister said on the sidelines of an Assocham seminar.

On June 25, a ministerial panel, headed by Mukherjee, had lifted the pricing controls on petroleum. As a result, petrol went up by Rs.3.50 a litre. The government hiked the prices of diesel by Rs.2 a litre, kerosene — known as the poor man’s fuel and traditionally spared during periodic fuel price hikes — by Rs.3 a litre and cooking gas by Rs.35 per cylinder.

On Friday, the RBI hiked key interest rates by 25 basis points with immediate effect in an attempt to contain soaring inflation. The repo rate was increased by 25 basis points to 5.5 percent and the reverse repo rate by a similar quantum to 4 percent.

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