India has cut cooking gas prices to soften the impact of rising inflation on household expenses as the nation heads into seasonal festivals and key elections.
(Bloomberg) — India has cut cooking gas prices to soften the impact of rising inflation on household expenses as the nation heads into seasonal festivals and key elections.
The reduction will lead to an additional subsidy burden of 76.8 billion rupees ($929 million) for the government during the current fiscal year through March, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur told reporters, briefing on the federal cabinet’s decision on the price cut.
India’s 15-month high inflation have been a rallying point against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and poses a challenge for his return to office for a third term after national elections early next year. Amid job losses in the post-pandemic world, the government has prolonged its foodgrain distribution programs for the poor and tightened exports of staples such as rice, wheat and onions to keep them affordable.
Five states in the country, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, will head for polls in few months, followed by the crucial national elections. Thakur said Tuesday’s decision wasn’t aimed at any elections and was part of the government’s continuing welfare measures.
Modi in his Independence Day speech to the nation on Aug. 15 vowed to fight inflation. “Our government will always do everything possible that improves people’s quality of life and benefits the poor and middle class,” Modi was cited as saying in a statement issued after Tuesday’s price-cut decision.
After a reduction of 200 rupees in prices of every 14.2 kilogram cylinder of liquefied petroleum gas, consumers in India’s capital will pay 18% less from Aug. 30 for the fuel used in kitchens.
–With assistance from Rajesh Kumar Singh.
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