BHUBANESWAR: With oil prices shooting through the roof and US oil sanctions against Iran coming into force in November, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday said the Centre will take the best possible steps to keep fuel price under check.
Acknowledging that the country is facing a tough due to high international crude prices, Pradhan said the US sanctions on Iran is a matter of great concern for the Centre.
“The Centre is fully seized of the matter and it will take all possible measures to keep fuel price under control,” the Union Minister said during a freewheeling discussion with Editorial Director of The New Indian Express Prabhu Chawla. After his keynote address to the gathering at the 7th edition of the Odisha Literary Festival organised by TNIE, Bhubaneswar, Pradhan said three factors - tax management, import dependency on oil producing countries and dollar-rupee imbalance - are responsible for the spiralling prices of the fossil fuel.
If any of the three factors improves, there will be no change in the situation. The people have to bear the pain till there is compatibility in all the three factors, he added. Expressing concern over the deteriorating external factors, the Union Minister said none of the oil producing countries kept their commitment for oil supply in June. The growing imbalance between dollar and rupee is the other major worrying factor.
In a bid to reduce the fuel price, the Centre had reduced the excise duty on petrol and diesel. On its request several states have taken similar steps by reducing the VAT. But many other states including Odisha are still reluctant to reduce tax for providing the cushion to the consumers.
“We are sincerely expecting more tax cuts by the states to provide relief to the consumers till the price situation of crude oil eases out in the international market,” he said. Noting that the oil demand of the country has increased significantly after introduction of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, the Union Minister said, “We have to import huge fuel to meet our transportation needs. Nearly 80 percent of our oil requirement is met through import.”