Former Union Minister M. Veerappa Moily, reacting to The Hindu’s interview with Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan which appeared on Tuesday, termed the latter’s explanation over fuel pricing as ‘conflicting’ and that the government should have been more sensitive to the plight of the people in the time of a pandemic and passed on the benefits of a global price cut to the consumer. Also read | Coronavirus and oil price crash: Saudi Arabia is battling double crises“The interview of Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, stating that the Union government has taken a ‘cautious and conscious’ decision to use the saving for the welfare of the people, is very conflicting. He himself admits ‘the reduction in demand has led to a peculiar situation where the product prices are less than the price of crude’,” wrote Mr. Moily in a written statement . He said the UPA-II government had taken a “conscious decision to do away with the administered price regime and to fix the prices of diesel and petroleum in accordance to the market price of crude. The idea was to pass the benefit/liability in accordance with the market trend. “This is a sound principle of economics and also done in the interest of the consumers and the economy. In the days of crisis in the economy, such as the onset of COVID-19, the government should have been more sensitive to the plight of the people and consumers as they are in great distress,” he said. Also read: Explained | Why are oil futures in negative terrain?He said that when he was the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas during UPA-2, “The prices of crude had risen to an all time high of $107.09 and we had priced diesel at ₹55.49 and petrol at ₹71.41. Currently, the cost of crude is $36.29 but diesel is priced at ₹65.39 and petrol at ₹71.26 in Delhi.” He also said according to the data available, no other country is denying the benefit of reduction in crude prices to its people.
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