Finally, LPG cap raised to 9 cylinders

Omar Lauds Decision, Expresses Gratitude To Govt Of India


New Delhi, Jan 17: In a mix of populist and reform measures, Government Thursday raised the cap on supply of subsidised cooking gas (LPG) to nine cylinders per household from six and virtually deregulated diesel prices allowing “small” hikes over a period of time.
Diesel prices in all probability may be hiked by Rs 1.50-2.0 per litre in the first instance that can be as early as tonight following the decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The CCPA however left LPG and kerosene prices unchanged. “The CCPA considered the issue of raising the cap from six to nine and the CCPA has agreed and raised the cap from six cylinders (per household in a year) to nine,” Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily told reporters here.
“As far as diesel is concerned, oil marketing companies have been authorised to make price correction from time to time,” he said. “It (price correction) can commence even from today.”
However, Finance Minister P Chidambaram maintained that the oil companies have been allowed to make “small correction ... I am looking at same subsidy bill as was expected earlier.” Administered diesel price has always been a sensitive issue with the fuel being consumed in large measure by public transport and freight carriers. It is always feared that any hike in its rates can lead to a cascading effect on prices.
Price of diesel was last revised on September 14 when it was hiked by a steep Rs 5.63 per litre. At present, diesel costs Rs 47.15 per litre in Delhi. Subsidised LPG costs Rs 410.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder and any household requirement beyond the new limit of 9 cylinders will cost a near market price of Rs 895.50 per bottle.
The government had in September capped the supply of subsidised cooking gas to six cylinders per household in a year, with a view to checking diversion to unintended beneficiaries.
However the decision met with widespread protests as only 44 per cent of population used six or less cylinders in a year.
With today’s decision, consumers will get five subsidised cylinders instead of the previously mandated three in the period up to March 31, 2013. From April 1, 2013 they will get nine cylinders in a year.
Moily said there will be no change in price of LPG and kerosene. The increase in the LPG cap would mean an additional subsidy outgo of Rs 9,300 crore annually.
On diesel front, sources said the government has kept the quantum of hike and the timing a secret to avoid petrol pumps stopping sales to make quick profits.
Oil Secretary G C Chaturvedi said CCPA has authorised oil firms to make “small changes over a period of time.” “There was no discussion on the quantum of price increase or the period over which these changes are to be effected. It has been left to the oil companies,” he said.
He, however emphatically stated that the government had not deregulated diesel prices. “If we are to deregulate, then diesel price will have to be raised by Rs 9.60 per litre, which is not the case. Only a small quantum of change has been permitted over a period of time.”
Asked if it was partial deregulation, he said “it wasn’t even partial deregulation.”
The government, he said, will continue to subsidise diesel, cooking gas and kerosene. “The finance ministry will meet all of the under recoveries (loss),” he said.
State-owned oil companies sell diesel at a loss of Rs 9.60 per litre, kerosene at Rs 30.64 a litre and LPG at Rs 490.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder.
For the full 2012-13 fiscal, they are projected to lose about Rs 165,000 crore.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Thursday expressed his gratitude to the Centre for increasing the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders from six to nine from next fiscal. “Grateful to the Government of India for accepting states like J&K's request to increase the number of subsidised LPG cylinders,” Omar wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.Com.
Jammu and Kashmir government had pleaded for increasing the cap for consumers in the state in view of the harsh winter conditions and lack of other resources to meet the energy requirements of the people.
The Centre today announced an increase in the number of subsidised LPG cylinders per consumer from six to nine. The new cap will come into effect from April 1, 2013.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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