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Faster price hike to end cooking gas subsidy
New Delhi, July 31: The government has asked oil marketing firms to increase cooking gas (LPG) prices by Rs 4 per cylinder every month to eliminate all subsidies by March. The directive is based on the assumption that international rates will soften in the coming months.

"The government, vide its order dated May 30, 2017, has authorised OMCs to continue to increase the effective price of subsidised domestic LPG by Rs 4 per cylinder, effective June 1, 2017, per month (excluding VAT) till the reduction of government subsidy to 'nil', or till March 2018, or till further orders, whichever is earliest," oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.

The government had earlier asked the oil marketing companies to increase the price of subsidised LPG by Rs 2 per cylinder from July 1, 2016. Now, the amount has been doubled, Pradhan said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

Officials said the government expected international LPG prices to soften in the coming months, which would help to wipe out the cooking gas subsidy. At present, a subsidised 14.2 cylinder is priced at Rs 480.32 in Calcutta, while non-subsidised LPG costs Rs 584. At current prices, the subsidy works out to Rs 103.68 per cylinder. Every household is entitled to 12 subsidised cylinders in a year.

The officials explained that the government intended to end the difference between subsidised and non-subsidised cylinders at the earliest. However, if there is a steep increase in global LPG rates, the time frame set for ending the subsidy could be reviewed.

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