PM hints at Hike in Petrol, Gas and Power Prices

TNI Bureau: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hinted at petrol, cooking gas and power prices hike while addressing the 57th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC). The indication will spark protests in the country as the price hike will put extra burden on the consumers.

Addressing, the meeting where the ministers of all the states were present, Dr Singh said, “Unfortunately, energy is underpriced in our country. Our coal, petroleum products and natural gas are all priced well below international prices. This also means that electricity is effectively underpriced, especially for some consumers. Immediate adjustment of prices to close the gap is not feasible, I realise this, but some phased price adjustment is necessary”.

The NDC, which comprises Cabinet Ministers and State Chief Ministers, witnessed a drama at the meeting as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa walked out of the meeting in middle, showing her displeasure over the timing given to the CMs speak over the issues.

The PM told both the Centre and states to create an economic system where industries can grow. “Both Centre and states face resource constraints. We need to increase the tax ratio as a percentage of GDP”, he said. He expressed his concern over the current economic situation saying the country faced two global crises this year, which send negative message. However, the overall growth target of 12th plan is being set at 8%.

Agriculture, which is now decreasing in the country, should be the government’s prime importance as the improvement of agriculture is essential for the growth of the country. However, Agricultural growth accelerated from 2.4 per cent in the 10th plan to 3.3 per cent in the 11th plan. Simultaneously, he gave importance to the growth in manufacturing, which should be in double digits in the coming years.

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