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Parliamentary panel to study petro products pricing, marketing

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on October 19, 2021

Review of the Centre’s policy on import of crude oil will be on the panel’s agenda

Standing Committee on Petroleum also wants to re-look the decontrol of market prices of petrol and diesel by UPA govt

Agreeing to the demand of Opposition parties, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas has decided to examine the pricing, marketing and supply of petroleum products, including natural gas. The panel will also review the Centre’s policy on import of crude oil.

Some members in the panel are also learnt to have demanded a re-look into the UPA government’s “decontrol” market prices of petrol and diesel based on a report submitted in 2010 by an expert group of Planning Commission headed by Kirit Parikh. The report, A Viable and Sustainable System of Pricing of Petroleum Products, recommended that petrol and diesel prices should be market determined both at the refinery gate and at the retail level. The MPs argued that “decontrol” of the market prices has burdened the people as oil companies are unwilling to reduce the prices even though international price of crude oil is low.

Also read: Petrol, diesel price hiked again

One-year agenda

The panel, chaired by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri charted the agenda for the one-year term in its meeting on Monday. “People are agitated over the rising prices of petrol, diesel and LPG. The increase was due to cess and additional taxes imposed by the Centre. We demanded in the panel that the pricing and taxation of petroleum products should be studiedl,” an Opposition member in the panel said. The panel has selected 17 subjects for its new term. It includes litigations involving oil PSUs, contract management and transparency in procurement procedures in oil PSUs, energy security with specific reference to hydrocarbon resources and electric vehicles, review of performance of oil PSUs with specific reference to financial performance and investments in other sectors, international cooperation in petroleum sector, alternative sources of energy and the policy on import of crude oil.

‘Windfall gains’

A recent meeting of the Congress Working Committee alleged that the Narendra Modi government has collected windfall gains, in excess of ₹18-lakh crore, from historically low oil prices.The meeting urged the Centre to reduce excise duty to bring down the “unsustainably high fuel and cooking gas prices”.

“At a time when the nation is recovering from a pandemic, made worse by a lack of preparedness on the part of the Government, the Modi government must introspect. No Government across the world imposes such great economic pain on its people, through deliberately made policy as also through economic negligence,’ a CWC resolution said.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the hikes in central duties on petroleum products has triggered unbearable overall inflation ruining people’s lives and destroying the economy. “Extra revenue of ₹3.61-lakh crore was collected last year. Withdraw central duties now,” he demanded.

Published on October 19, 2021

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