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Can not do much to lower petrol price: Pranab

Mumbai:  Responding to the criticism of petrol price hike, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said deregulation of oil products is a legacy of NDA rule and expressed government`s inability to control them at a time when global crude prices are high.

"Those who are criticising us, they should also remember that it is during their time all the petroleum products were decontrolled," he told reporters after chairing a meeting of bankers and representatives of state governments in the Western zone here.

Mukherjee said that during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)`s rule between 1998 and 2004, international crude prices hovered between USD 24 and USD 36 while they have now gone up to USD 113.

"The petroleum products, which could have been made available between 1998 to 2004, for simple economic logic cannot be made available today when the prices (of crude) are more than 5-6 times higher," he said.

After the NDA government took the policy measure of dismantling administered price mechanism, the incumbent government took a decision to partly deregulate oil prices by lifting the cap on petrol in June and let Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) decide on the prices.

However, the government shied from deregulating the prices of the politically sensitive cooking gas, diesel and kerosene.

The OMCs on Thursday decided to hike petrol prices by Rs 3.14 per litre due to a spurt in global crude, which triggered criticism from all quarters.

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