Subsidies on fuel and fertilisers need to be reduced “at the earliest”, Dr C. Rangarajan, Chairman of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, said here on Friday.

He was speaking at the Indian Statistical Institute at an event to mark the birth anniversary of P.C. Mahalanobis, founder of the institute.

“Subsidies have been growing. While there are some like food subsidies we cannot trifle with, there is scope for reducing subsidies on fuel and fertilisers," he said.

According to Dr Rangarajan, while oil marketing companies are able to determine petrol prices according to international markets, it is not the same for LPG, diesel and kerosene.

“With kerosene I can understand that there is a sentiment (for increasing price), I am of the opinion that diesel and LPG prices have to increase,” he said.

He, however, added that price decontrol for LPG should “protect” low-income groups.

Asked later, when subsidy cuts can be expected, he said: “I would not like to put a timeframe on it. But I am of the belief that it should be done at the earliest,” he added.

(This article was published on June 29, 2012)
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