NEW DELHI: Subsidised cooking gas (LPG) price was on Friday raised by over Rs7 per cylinder, in line with the government’s decision to hike prices every month so that all subsidies are eliminated by this fiscal-end. A subsidised 14.2-kg LPG cylinder now costs Rs487.18 in Delhi as against Rs479.77 previously, according to Indian Oil Corporation, the nation’s largest fuel retailer.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had on 31 July told the Lok Sabha that the government had asked state-owned oil companies to raise subsidised cooking gas (LPG) prices by Rs4 per cylinder every month to eliminate all the subsidies by March next year. Rates were, however, raised by Rs2.31 per cylinder on the previous due date on 1 August and the oil companies have effected a larger hike to equalise that, sources said. Since the implementation of the policy of monthly increases of Rs2 from July last year, subsidised LPG rates have gone up by over Rs68 per cylinder.
A 14.2-kg LPG cylinder was priced at Rs419.18 in June 2016. The government had previously asked IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) to raise rates of subsidised domestic LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) by Rs2 per 14.2-kg cylinder per month (excluding VAT). The quantum has now been doubled so as to bring down the subsidy to nil. Every household is entitled to 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg each at subsidised rates in a year. Any requirement beyond that is to be purchased at market price.
The price of non-subsidised LPG or market-priced cooking gas has also been hiked by Rs73.5 to Rs597.50 per bottle. Rates were at the last revision cut by Rs 40. Simultaneously, the oil companies also raised prices of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) by 4 per cent, in keeping with rising global rates. ATF, or jet fuel, now costs Rs50,020 per kilolitre, Rs1,910 more than Rs48,110 previously. This hike comes on the back of a 2.3 per cent increase effected from 1 August.
Also, price of kerosene sold through public distribution system (PDS) was hiked by about 25 paise per litre. The government is adopting the same policy as in LPG for eliminating subsidy on kerosene. Since July 1 last year, rates have been been hiked by 25 paise per litre each fortnight. While Delhi has been declared a kerosene-free state, the fuel now costs Rs22.27 per litre in Mumbai compared to Rs22 previously.
Kerosene was on 1 July, 2016, priced at Rs15.02 per litre in Mumbai. State-owned oil firms revise rates of LPG and ATF on 1st of every month based on average oil price and foreign exchange rate in the previous month. Friday’s hike in the LPG price is fourth since the 30 May order of the oil ministry to raise rates by Rs4 per cylinder every month.
There are as many as 18.11 crore customers of subsidised LPG in India. These include 2.6 crore poor women who were given free connections during the last one year under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna. There are another 2.66 crore users of non-subsidised cooking gas.