Oil Minister proposes pro-poor approach on fuel, gas price hike

Oil Minister proposes pro-poor approach on fuel, gas price hikeNew Delhi, June 1 - Hinting at pro-poor approach in dealing with rise in fuel and gas prices, new Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that he would consult Finance and Law ministries before taking a call on price hike.

"That issue has many aspects, angles and questions. There are many departments associated with it. Law ministry and finance ministry are associated with it. We are analyzing the whole matter, we will talk to the top supporters in our government before we take the decision," he said.

In January, the previous government had notified the new gas pricing formula that could double the prices of locally produced gas from April 1, but the poll regulator stopped the government from raising the prices until the elections are over. Reliance Industries and its partners BP and Niko Resources earlier this month issued a notice of arbitration to the government seeking implementation of higher gas prices.

The BJP-led government may review the formula on the lines suggested by a senior party leader last year and announce the date of implementation of new prices.

The oil minister on Saturday also hit at the failure of massive biometric project that was earlier undertaken by the Congress party led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government.

Pradhan also said he has instructed his officials to draft a detailed presentation on the critical issues facing the sector in a bid to understand the challenges of the petroleum ministry.

"There is a big question mark on Aadhar by the court, but we will have to accept that the 160 million consumers, customers have to be provided with a technology friendly transparent distribution system without any obstacles. I have instructed the officials of my department. They will look for a solution into this matter. There have been a few improvements but we will look for a better solution which will help us win the hopes of the people," he said.

UPA in its second tenure had taken the flagship programme of setting largest biometric database in the world with the aim of providing most of its 1.2 billion citizens a Unique Identification (UID), named "Aadhaar".

Even country's apex court ruled last year that such cards were not mandatory even though state governments had been making it compulsory for a range of formalities to avail various social security benefits.

Putting the country's technological prowess to work to bring the entire 1.2 billion population within the reach of government, the widely feted unique identity (UID) project was set up by Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani.

In a more ambitious version of programmes that have slashed poverty in Brazil and Mexico, the government had begun to use the UID database since May 2012 to make direct cash transfers to the poor, in an attempt to cut out frauds who siphon billions of dollars from welfare schemes. (ANI)

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