Starting June 16, retail selling prices of petrol and diesel are set be revised every day by the three state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) across the country, a release said on Thursday. Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp had started a pilot project in five cities —Udaipur, Jamshedpur, Puducherry, Chandigarh and Visakhapatnam — starting May 1, 2017 wherein prices of these fuels changed daily according to the international crude prices. Daily change in prices will minimise volatility and will not lead to sudden increase or decrease in prices. Till now, retail fuel prices are revised fortnightly. The OMCs expect the new system will enable a smooth flow of products from refineries or depots to retail outlets. Many developed countries already revise prices of petrol and diesel on a daily basis. The release added the companies are taking steps to establish an appropriate mechanism for conveying prices to consumers every day, which may include daily publishing of the prices in newspapers, prominent displays of prices at retail outlets, sending price-related text messages from centralised locations and developing mobile apps.
As reported by FE on June 8, the decision was taken at meeting headed by petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday, which was attended by ministry of petroleum and natural gas officials and executives from the OMCs, including the chairmen. The OMCs plan to use their field officers to convey the daily change in prices especially in areas where connectivity is an issue.
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According to experts, mobiles will play an important role in implementing the system. “The positive side is that retail price deregulation is here to stay. For consumers, they will ignore the minor change in prices unlike fortnightly changes wherein prices fluctuate, at times, quite significantly,” said Debasish Mishra, partner at consultancy firm Deloitte India.