New Delhi: Under pressure to keep its finances under control, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said the government is keen to free prices of diesel and cooking gas (LPG) but keep subsidizing kerosene used by poor.
“Petrol we have done (decontrolled). Diesel, kerosene and LPG we want to do it. (But) Kerosene we may have to provide some subsidy because people who have no access to electricity, use kerosene as lighting”, he said in an interview to PTI.
The government, he added, wants to link the prices of the domestic petroleum products with those prevailing in the international market.
While the prices of petrol are linked to market rates, the government directly and indirectly compensates the oil marketing companies for losses on account of sale of diesel, kerosene and LPG through subsidies and oil bonds.
In June while increasing prices of kerosene, diesel and LPG, the government had slashed customs and excise duties on petroleum products to cushion the hike in rates and thus sacrificing an annual Rs49,000 crore revenue.
Referring to the recommendations of the task force headed by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani on direct transfer of subsidy, he said, “the task force is looking into it. After the pilot projects being launched they will come out with the recommendations reviewing the pilot project outcomes”.
The task force has suggested to the government launching of pilot projects for direct transfer of subsidy in case of kerosene, cooking gas and fertilizer with a view to curbing pilferage and helping the poor.