INDIA: Chidambaram hints at fuel price hike, denies overheat

Rashtrapati Bhawan is seen illuminated
Indicating a possible moderate hike in fuel rates, Finance Minister Chidambaram has said India cannot pass the full burden of runaway rise in crude prices to consumers who will be pushed to "misery" by such a move.

".. If oil prices touch $100 a barrel, we cannot pass the burden to consumers as it will push them to misery,"
Chidambaram said at 'BBC World Debate - Global Economic Shock: Perfect Storm Ahead?' organised at World Economic Forum's annual meeting here.

He said the rural economy would come to a grinding halt if consumers have bear the sharp increase in the international oil prices.

Chidambaram said even if the oil prices have to be increased, it would be a "moderate hike".

The Government would continue to provide oil subsidy and will share the burden with the oil companies, he said. Chidambaram's comments come amidst efforts by the Government to evolve a political consensus over ways of tackling the increasing burden of state-owned oil companies. The GoM had called off its last meeting. After touching the $100 a barrel mark on January 2, global crude prices have somewhat moderated, but remain in the range of $90 per barrel.

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