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Expert committee on fuel pricing policy set up

Special Correspondent

Revision in petro-products prices unlikely till March 2006



TRANSPARENT MECHANISM: The Secretary, Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, S. C. Tripathi, addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. — Photo: Ramesh Sharma

NEW DELHI: The Centre has set up a high power committee headed by Chairman of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council C. Rangarajan to formulate a fuel pricing policy and taxation regime for petroleum products.

"The committee has been set up to evolve a mechanism [of pricing petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene] that takes care of the interest of all the stakeholders — the consumer, [the] Government and oil companies,'' Petroleum Secretary S. C. Tripathi told newspersons here.

Apart from Dr. Rangarajan, the other members of the committee are: Kirit S. Parikh, Member, Planning Commission; Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr. Tripathi; Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance, Ashok Lahiri; Chief Economist, ICRA, Saumitra Chaudhuri; and the Director, IIM Ahmedabad, B. H. Dholakia.

Besides formulating a long-term pricing policy in view of the unprecedented spiral in global oil prices and sharp volatility in certain petroleum products, the new committee, unlike previous panels, would look into the taxation aspect — both Central and local levies — on crude oil and its various products.

Mr. Tripathi said the Rangarajan Committee would look into the various aspects of pricing and taxation of petroleum products with a view to stabilising/rationalising their prices.

The committee is to submit its report within six months and suggest a "comprehensive mechanism of pricing and taxation of sensitive petroleum products.''

The objective, Mr Tripathi said, was to set up a system under which the pricing of petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene would be referred to the Government only in exceptional circumstances, such as highly volatile international prices.

UNI reports:

The Government said the retail prices of petroleum products such as petrol and diesel are unlikely to be revised till March 2006, provided crude oil prices remained below the peak prices.

"If the prices of crude oil remained around the current level, there will be no revision in prices of petrol and diesel,'' Mr. Tripathi said.

He said the prices of crude oil in the international market had softened since September 1 and the Indian basket prices are hovering around $55 against all time high of $62.78 a barrel.

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