NEW DELHI – India was gripped with nationwide strikes and protests against rising fuel prices on Monday, as critics blamed the country’s government for the hike.
The Indian government, however, has said that the increasing costs of gas and petrol are due to the fall in global crude oil production.
“Diesel, petrol price rise is out of our hands because oil producing countries have limited production,” Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said at a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.
In New Delhi, the prices of petrol and diesel since Sunday have increased by 0.23 rupees and 0.22 rupees per liter, respectively, to 80.73 rupees ($1.12) and 72.83 ($1.01).
In northern states such as Bihar, which witnessed widespread protests, prices touched 90 rupees per liter of petrol, 14% more than a year ago.
During a protest in the Indian capital, former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, member of the opposition Congress party and former governor of the country’s central bank, blamed the government for the escalating gas prices and called for a change in leadership.
The prices of fuel in India – a country with a decentralized, federal structure – are determined by the behavior of international market and producers, as well as by the value of the local currency.
The rupee has continued to fall in recent months, and was valued at 72.44 to the US dollar early Monday.