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    Default Manmohan hints at fuel price hike

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    Hinting that a hike could be imminent, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Saturday, favoured a rationalisation in fuel prices while pointing out that there was a need to ensure that the poor and needy were shielded from the effects of such an exercise.

    Dr. Singh voiced his opinion while addressing a function to dedicate to the nation the Rs.21,500-crore Guru Gobind Singh Refinery, a joint venture between Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and the Singapore-based Mittal Energy Investment Pte Ltd, which is a subsidiary of the Lakshmi N. Mittal group.

    The Prime Minister said that the challenges faced on the energy front were formidable as the country needed adequate supplies of energy at affordable prices. “Domestic sources of crude oil and gas are inadequate to meet the growing demand of our rapidly expanding economy. With imports accounting for about 80 per cent of our crude supplies, the spiralling prices of crude in the international market have put a severe strain on our import bill,” Dr. Singh said adding that to insulate the common man from the impact of rising oil prices, the government shouldered a sizable portion of the burden by pricing diesel, kerosene and domestic LPG below their market prices.
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