Global crude oil prices have slumped by 49 per cent during the same period
The prices of subsidised cooking gas zoomed by 16 per cent, from Rs 414 per cylinder when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government came to power in May 2014 to Rs 479.77 in August 2017, despite global crude oil prices dipping by about 49 per cent.
The Narendra Modi-led government had stormed to power in 2014 on the back of serious corruption charges against the Congress-led regime and the rise in prices of commodities like cooking gas, against which the BJP had raised its voice. Interestingly, the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was revised 22 times by oil marketing companies (OMCs) like Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) since May 2014, when the BJP government took charge.
However, on the back of a 49 per cent drop in international crude prices, from $102.71 a barrel on May 30, 2014, to $52.16 (Brent crude) on August 3, 2017, prices of non-subsidised cylinders dipped 44 per cent, from Rs 928.50 per cylinder in May 2014 to Rs 524 in August 2017.
Also, in an effort to reduce the subsidy burden or to completely do away with the subsidy, OMCs are authorised to increase prices of subsidised domestic LPG cylinders by Rs 4 per month till March 2018. “The government stands committed and will continue to provide subsidy assistance to the needy and poor households,” said an official close to the development.
The subsidy amount on a 14.2-kg cylinder transferred to the accounts of Delhi consumers stands at Rs 86.54 currently, which the government wants to do away with or reduce to the range of Rs 40 per cylinder by March 2018. The current national average of LPG subsidy per cylinder comes to the tune of about Rs 58 per cylinder.