LPG subsidy not for 'people like me', only for poor: Jaitley

The government is considering doing away with the subsidy on LPG or cooking gas cylinders for the better-off, finance minister Arun Jaitley said today.

Arun Jaitley"The next important decision India will have to take is whether people like me ... are entitled to get our LPG subsidy," he said at a media function in New Delhi.

"I think the sooner we are able to take these decisions as to who is entitled to these subsidies - of course some people would be - the better it would be for our system. These decisions are all on our [government] agenda," he said.

Currently, households are entitled to 12 cylinders a year at a subsidised rate of around Rs415 each, though prices vary between states depending on local taxes. Gas cylinders above this ceiling are required to be purchased at the market price of Rs880 per 14.2-kg cylinder.

Of course, there is a roaring black market in the sale of LPG cylinders, but this was not an issue the finance minister bothered to address.

"One does not have to wait for years to decide on coal blocks or what to do with spectrum or natural resources, or with diesel pricing or with gas pricing."

Some of these decisions had been complicated over the years, but the new government wasted no time and simply took a call on them he said, adding that "I think that's the agenda we continue to follow".

Meanwhile, the price of Indian basket of crude, as computed by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, fell to $75.81 per barrel (bbl) on 20 November from $76.01 per bbl on the previous publishing day.

In rupee terms, the price of the Indian basket increased to Rs4,707.80 per bbl on 20 November compared to Rs4,699.70 per bbl on 19 November, an official press release said.

The rupee closed weaker at Rs62.10 per dollar on 20 November against Rs61.83 per dollar on 19 November, the release added.