1:23 am - Saturday November 7, 2015

Oil minister to attend cabinet meet amid gas price hike speculation

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Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan will attend a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, a government source said, amid speculation that India could raise gas prices from July 1.

Pradhan is not a member of the cabinet committee, but can attend the meeting as a special invitee.

The earliest possible date to raise the local gas prices is July 1, a separate government source said, adding, the oil ministry has already made presentations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on gas pricing.

The previous government led by the Congress party could not raise prices from April 1 as planned following the Election Commission’s request to defer the move until the national elections concluded in May.

Gas prices would have doubled to more than $8 per million British thermal unit (mmbtu) from April 1 if the complex formula proposed by a panel was implemented. The panel also suggested quarterly review of the local gas prices.

The current Bharatiya Janta Party government may favour a phased increase in gas prices, HSBC said in a recent research note.

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