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FM refuses to roll back fuel prices

New Delhi, Sat, 13 Mar 2010 NI Wire

Politely ruling out the possibility of rolling back the fuel prices, the Finance Minister of India Pranab Mukherjee Friday refused the oppositions demand to restore the fuel prices at its February position.

Defending his budgetary decision the Finance Minister (FM) said, "Excuse me. The financial condition does not permit me to do so.

In his budget presentation for fiscal year 2010-11, Pranab on February 26, 2010 had restored the basic customs duty of 5% on crude, 7.5% on diesel and petrol and 10% on other refined petroleum products, and had also imposed an additional excise duty of Re.1 on petrol and diesel.

He was replying to former Finance Minister in NDA regime and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on March 12 in a debate to reducing the prices of fuel at least on diesel.

Speaking in Lok Sabha in an exercise to completing the first phase of budgetary exercise on Friday, FM said, 'I know that the hike in the fuel prices may increase the inflation by 0.4% but there is no other option as the international oil prices have raised dramatically in the last two years.'

"I did not opt for any short-term measure. All factors were taken into consideration when the budget proposals were drafted. " said Pranab stressing on that only high growth rate could provide enough funds to run ambitious government's projects.

Despite difficult economic situation deficit monsoon and drought situation, the domestic savings are around 32% and growth rate are 7.2% at present, he added.

The entire opposition walked out from the house after his reply.

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