There is no proposal on the anvil for an increase in prices of diesel, Reddy told reporters after taking charge of the new ministry on Thursday.
Asked about deregulation of diesel prices, which Cabinet had said in June, 2010, would take place in due course, Reddy said, “I don’t think anybody can take such long-term decisions.”
He, however, indicated that there will be no rollback of the price hikes in petrol seven times since its deregulation in June, 2010.
The newly appointed minister said the three state-owned fuel retailers are expected to lose Rs 72,000 crore in revenue this fiscal on account of subsidised fuel sales and his ministry will press for a reduction in customs on crude oil and excise duty on diesel, as was proposed by his predecessor, Murli Deora.
Reddy, who moved from urban development to the oil ministry, got down to tackling the task straightaway with a brainstorming session with senior ministry officials today.
“This is not a new government… I am a new minister in the old government. I am morally and politically accountable for all the policies and decisions of my predecessor. They were collective decisions of the Cabinet,” he said last evening.
With rumours doing the rounds that the Congress party brass was not happy with Deora and his junior Jitin Prasada over last week’s Rs 2.50 per litre hike in petrol prices, Reddy said spiralling international oil prices “was a challenge.”
Despite last week’s price hike …the seventh since June, oil firms lose Rs 1.22 a litre on petrol.
Besides, they lose Rs 7 a litre on diesel, Rs 366.28 on LPG and Rs 19.60 a litre on kerosene.
The Congress heavyweight said decisions on such issues would be taken at the Cabinet-level.
Vayalar Ravi seeks support of AI employees in restoring its glory
New Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi today sought the support of all employees of ailing Air India in restoring its lost glory and said the staff and the management should work in coordination to achieve this.
“I am taking over from one of my best friends and colleagues Praful Patel who is responsible for making the aviation sector grow very fast. Thanks to him that there are many more private players and budget airlines,” he said after taking over his new assignment at the Ministry headquarters in New Delhi in the presence of Patel.
He said he would carry forward the policies and implement the programmes initiated by his predecessor and strive to bring about improvement in the financial position of Air India as well as the overall aviation sector.
Being a former trade unionist, Ravi said in this endeavour, “I solicit the cooperation of all trade unions. I am here to hear them and seek their cooperation. Among my priorities would be to improve Air India’s services, make it a profitable institution and restore its lost glory.”
He said he would also be meeting the corporate leaders and other stakeholders in the civil aviation sector shortly, listen to their issues and seek their cooperation.
“The employees and the corporates are like my two hands”.
Asked about the problem of alleged cartelisation by airlines on airfares, Ravi said Patel had taken “very strong step when there were complaints (of high fares). I will follow his footsteps and not allow such things to happen”.
“Earlier, I used to watch things (in the sector) as a passenger. That experience will help me now (as a Minister),” he said.
The veteran Congress leader from Kerala said he would meet the officials, the corporates in the sector and the employees representatives before deciding on policy issues.