New Delhi: The reshuffle of the Union Cabinet on Wednesday witnessed many senior ministers switching posts. In all there were 37 changes in the allocation of portfolios.(Cabinet reshuffle: Jaipal gets Petroleum; Urban Development for Kamal Nath) | (Complete list of changes)
In one of the significant changes, Jaipal Reddy replaced Murli Deora as the Oil Minister. The shift came couple of days after yet another hike in petrol prices. State-owned oil companies had on Saturday raised petrol prices by Rs 2.50-Rs 2.54 per litre, the second hike in a month, on back of rising crude oil prices. It was also the sixth hike in the last seven months. (Petrol prices hiked again; go up by Rs. 2.54 per litre)
Speaking to NDTV on The Buck Stops Here, the new Petroleum Minister said he is nervous about rising petrol prices. He, however, added that oil companies cannot be allowed to bleed and so a way will have to be found without hurting them. He also said that his ministry will look at the issue of compensating oil companies for subsidies and that he supports Deora's demand for a cut in customs duty on crude oil. (Watch: Who said what on Cabinet reshuffle)
Frequent upward revision of petrol prices by oil companies have added to the woes of the common man already suffering due to high food inflation.
The overall inflation for December, 2010 went up to 8.43 per cent while the food inflation stood a high level of 16.91 per cent for the week ended January 1.
The Opposition is up in arms against the government and has accused that an economist Prime Minister has failed to check rising prices. The PM has however exuded confidence that prices would stabilise by March but said certain factors were beyond the control of the government. (Price rise: I'm not an astrologer, says PM)