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Government defends record LPG price hike with math


NEW DELHI: Amid continued Congress jibe and criticism from other parties, the government on Thursday defended the sharp increase in domestic LPG prices and said households will not be affected due to a matching increase in subsidy. Explaining the math, a government statement said LPG price is determined on the basis of the fuel’s international price in the previous month. In January, the global price had shot up from $448 per tonne to $567, necessitating an increase of Rs 144.50 in the price of a 14.2 kg cylinder in Delhi, the benchmark domestic market. As a result, the statement said, the price of domestic non-subsidised LPG cylinder has increased from Rs 714 per cylinder to Rs 858.50. Simultaneously, domestic consumers availing subsidy has been cushioned by increasing the government support from Rs 153.86 per cylinder to Rs 291.48. “Therefore, out of about 27.76 crore LPG consumers, in respect of about 26.12 crore consumers (who avail subsidy) the increase in price is borne by the government through enhanced subsidy,” the statement said. Similarly for Ujjwala consumers, the subsidy has been increased from Rs 174.86 per cylinder to Rs 312.48. Here too the impact of price hike is mostly borne by the government. The price hike, sharpest since January 2014 on Wednesday, had drawn sharp criticism from the Congress, TMC and the BSP. The Congress kept up the pressure on Thursday by demanding a roll-back and wondered if the price revision was “revenge” for the BJP’s defeat in the Delhi polls. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted a UPA-era picture of BJP leaders, including Smriti Irani, protesting against an increase in LPG price at the time. “I agree with these members of the BJP as they protest the astronomical 150 Rs price hike in LPG cylinders,” Gandhi tweeted. I agree with these members of the BJP as they protest the astronomical 150 Rs price hike in LPG cylinders.…— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) 1581584704000The Mahila Congress held a protest against the steep LPG price hike and submitted a memorandum to the government demanding a roll-back of the increased prices.

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