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Top priority to power
External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee (right) with Pawan Kumar Ruia, chairman of the Ruia group, in Calcutta on Saturday. (PTI) A staff reporter

Calcutta, Dec. 22: Adequate power generation is key to economic growth, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said today.

“We cannot have high economic growth without adequate energy generation. The country currently generates 1,28,000MW of electricity. This is inadequate as a large section of our population still does not get electricity,” Mukherjee said while addressing a seminar organised by the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI).

Backing the nuclear deal with the US, Mukherjee said the agreement is crucial to meet India’s energy need.

“We must look at the civil use of nuclear energy as an alternative source,” he added.

Indicating an imminent hike in fuel prices, Mukherjee said, “When the UPA government came to power, we used to import crude oil at a price between $36 and $40 a barrel from the international market. Now the price is near $100 a barrel.”

“We cannot bear price shocks for indefinite period without affecting the economy,” Mukherjee, who heads a group of ministers on oil pricing, said.

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