EGoM to meet as oil companies seek fuel price hike
"I have asked for a meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM)," Reddy told reporters after a meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the EGoM.
Asked if an increase in diesel prices was on cards, he said: "There is no proposal (to hike prices) as such but I have asked for a meeting of the EGoM so that the whole government can decide."
Reddy said the losses suffered by the state-owned firms on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost would cross Rs 135,000 crore in the fiscal.
"Our losses are exceeding Rs 135,000 crore (for the year). I want the EGoM meeting to apprise them of the situation on the oil PSUs front," he said.
State-owned oil firms are currently losing Rs 9.27 per litre of diesel, Rs 26.94 per litre of kerosene sold through the public distribution system (PDS) and Rs 260.50 per 14.2-kg LPG cylinder supplied to households for cooking purposes.
The EGoM "meeting would take place before the Winter Session of Parliament", beginning November 22, Reddy said, adding that a decision on raising prices may "not be easy".
The ministerial panel is essentially a consensus-building body of the Congress-led UPA government and comprises key allies like the DMK, TMC and NC. The allies had in September scuttled plans to limit the supply of subsidised LPG cylinders to 4-6 per household in a year so that subsidies can be cut.
Reddy said his ministry would push for raising prices of all three regulated products, diesel, LPG and kerosene.
On oil companies pressing for a hike in petrol prices, he said PSUs were fully empowered to take a view, keeping in mind rising crude oil prices and depreciating rupee.
"Our ministry does not administer" the price of petrol, which was freed from government control in June last year, he said.
Tuesday, HPCL Director (Finance) B Mukherjee had said that oil firms may have to raise petrol prices, as they were losing Rs 1.50 per litre at the current rates.