Friday, September 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PM hints at oil price hike

NEW DELHI, Sept 21 (PTI) — The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today said “hard decisions” would have to be taken to deal with surging international crude prices indicating that domestic oil price hike was on the cards.

“People have to be prepared for hard decision, in view of the prevailing international situation even though we don’t want to raise the price of oil,” he told party workers at his residence here.

“There was strike in entire Europe over the hike in price of crude thus affecting even developed countries. We are still not self-sufficient in crude and it would take sometime,” Mr Vajpayee said.

He said even though the government did raise the price of crude “but the people have to see the prevailing international situation and be prepared for hard decisions.”

Meanwhile, the Cabinet is likely to meet on Saturday to review the situation arising out of the surge in crude prices which has touched $ 37 a barrel.

Petroleum Minister Ram Naik had earlier said that the government might have to increase domestic oil prices besides reducing customs and excise duty on petroleum products and issue of oil bonds to meet the widening oil pool deficit which is expected to touch Rs 9000 crore.

Revenue Minister V Dhanajay Kumar had said the government had very little scope for reducing excise duty as the country had moved on to single rate excise duty (SED) provided some leverage for reduction.

Also there was likelihood of a cut on special additional duty (SAD) that is levied along with customs duty on crude imports.

Mr Vajpayee expressed confidence that a majority of the countries would sign the International Convention on Terrorism as it had become a major global issue.

‘‘At the UN General Assembly, terrorism had become an international issue and we are hoping that a majority of the countries would sign the convention,” he said.

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