Petrol prices may go up by 65 paise from Friday

The fall in the rupee to an all-time low of Rs53.75 has resulted in the under-recovery on petrol to Rs0.55-Rs0.56 per litre. However, with the Parliament in session, any hike in petrol prices would lead to protests by opposition parties

New Delhi: Petrol prices may be hiked by Rs0.65 per litre this week if state-owned oil firms manage to get political approval for the move, reports PTI.

While a fall in the rupee to an all-time low of Rs53.75 per US dollar has resulted in an increase in the cost of oil imports, international rates of gasoline—against which domestic petrol prices are benchmarked—have also increased, a top source at a state-run oil firm has said.

“The under-recovery on petrol is Rs0.55-Rs0.56 per litre. After adding local sales tax, the desired increase in Delhi comes to Rs0.65-Rs0.66 a litre,” he said, adding that the oil companies will review prices tomorrow and any change will be effective from 16th December.

State-owned oil firms have cut petrol prices on two occasions in the past one month after international oil rates eased.

The companies reduced petrol prices by Rs2.22 per litre, or 3.2% from 16th November and followed this with a Rs0.78 per litre cut from 1st December.

The source, however, could not say if oil companies will go ahead with increasing prices tomorrow, in line with the practice of changing rates every fortnight. “The actual loss to us is only 50-55 paise. We can tolerate it for another fortnight if need be,” he said.

Public sector oil firms, which revise petrol prices on the 1st and 16th of every month based on the average international rates of the previous fortnight, may informally consult the parent Petroleum Ministry before taking a decision.

Parliament is in session and an increase in petrol prices may lead to protests by Opposition parties.

The price of gasoline has averaged $111.11 per barrel in Singapore this month, up from $108.25 a barrel in the previous fortnight.

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Putting C and D staff under original CVC jurisdiction is unfortunate says NCPRI

NCPRI also expresses its concerns about Standing Committee’s final report on Lokpal Bill that seeks CBI to be independent from government

National Campaign For People’s Right to Information(NCPRI),  while welcoming several of the recommendations by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lokpal Bill, has expressed doubts about the decision to include C and D staff under the original jurisdiction of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). NCPRI has also deemed it dangerous that Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) be made independent of the government and the Lokpal.
“We strongly feel that placing group C (and D) staff under the original jurisdiction of the CVC is an unfortunate step that would adversely affect the interest of millions, especially the poor and marginalised segments, whose primary interaction is with these categories of public servants. The sheer numbers of C (and D) staff would make it impossible for a single institution to deal with them effectively,” NCPRI said in a press statement.

About the observation to leave CBI out of the Lokpal ambit, NCPRI said, “We believe that a Lokpal, without an independent investigative agency under its administrative control, is no Lokpal. We also think it a very bad idea to unleash on the nation a police agency, like the CBI, without giving a civilian agency, like the Lokpal, effective control over it.”

There are other practical difficulties about extending original CVC jurisdiction to C and D staff. Since many of the central C Central government staff are located in post offices of rural areas, several outposts must be set up to monitor them and receive complaints. Apart form requiring massive manpower and financial resources, the move will result in setting up of three thanas at the same place~ a police station, the CVC thana and the Lokayukta or state vigilance commission outpost.

NCPRI thinks it is better to place the C and D staff under the original jurisdiction of the police, and leave review jurisdiction to the Lokayuktas and Lokpal. “Consequently, complaints under the PC Act, against group C staff, would be filed with the local police station, irrespective of whether the accused was state or central government employee. If investigation is not conducted properly, then the district level office of the Lokpal and of the Lokayukta would have a review jurisdiction and even the right to take over the investigation. There would be a protocol laying down the procedures and time lines for investigation, perhaps based on the existing CBI manual,” NCPRI states.

The Lokayukta or Lokpal should be directly accessible to all citizens. In case there is a confusion which category the accused belongs to, complaint can be lodged with both the police and the Lokpal/Lokayukta.

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