New Delhi: New Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan Sunday defended the fresh hike in diesel prices saying the fare for bulk consumption has come down.
"We don't want to take any step which will send a negative signal to investors. Don't see the things in isolation. Today the diesel price for bulk consumption has also decreased by Rs.1.24. We are also responsible towards welfare of the people," Pradhan told a television news channel here.
"We have reached a stage to reduce diesel price up to Rs.1.24 in bulk consumption. This has happened due to the strengthening of the rupee under Narendra Modi's government," he added.
Diesel prices were hiked Saturday by 50 paise a litre, excluding state levies, the second such increase in rates in three weeks.
Before this increase, diesel prices had risen by a cumulative Rs.9.55 a litre in 15 instalments since January 2013.
Responding to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa's demand to revise the policy for fuel pricing, a new policy will be framed with the country's interest being uppermost, Pradhan said.
In a statement, Jayalalithaa had said the oil pricing mechanism should be changed by factoring the cost of crude - both imported and domestically explored - and its refining costs.
The new diesel price in Delhi after including taxes is Rs.57.28 per litre, while it costs Rs.65.84 a litre in Mumbai.