The government said on Thursday it may decide before the beginning of the Budget session on the Parikh Panel recommendations of freeing the oil prices and increasing the rates of kerosene and cooking fuel.
"By next week, the ministry will be able to offer its comments on the recommendations and it will then go to the Cabinet," oil minister Murli Deora told reporters in New Delhi.
Asked by when the Cabinet is expected to take a decision, he said it will be very soon,'may be before the Budget itself'.
A prime minister-appointed expert group, headed by Kirit Parikh, suggested on Wednesday freeing petrol and diesel prices and suggested raising liquid petroleum gas rates by a steep Rs 100 per cylinder and kerosene by Rs 6 a litre.
Deregulation of auto fuel prices would result in a hike of Rs 4.72 a litre in petrol prices and diesel rates by Rs 2.33 per litre.
Earlier in the day, Deora's deputy Jitin Prasada hinted that the government may not accept the report in totality and would protect the common man's interest.
"The government will ensure that least burden is passed on to the poor and common man... while also ensuring that the financial health of (PSU fuel retailers) is protected," minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Jitin Prasada said.
State-owned Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum currently lose Rs 180 crore (Rs 1.8 billion) per day on selling petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene below the imported cost. In full-fiscal, they are estimated to lose Rs 46,030 crore (Rs 460.3 billion).