The government on Tuesday ruled out rolling back the hike in fuel prices, junking the demand for such a measure by the Opposition which disrupted proceedings in both houses of Parliament.
"Why should the government pay Rs.5,000 crore per quarter for the petrol being used in anyone's car?" Petroleum Minister Murli Deora asked while speaking to reporters outside Parliament on the Opposition's demand for a roll-back.
"There has been no hike for last four years and even the hike which has been done is minimal," he said.
"If they (Opposition) have to unite they must unite for something good," Deora said, reacting to the opposition's agitation over the issue.
Earlier in the day, Deora said in the Lok Sabha that the increase in fuel prices had translated into an additional burden of less than a rupee on cooking gas and 50 paisa on kerosene per day.
He said the "primary objective" behind the June 26 hike in prices of petroleum products was the need to reduce the subsidy burden on oil marketing companies and thereby release more funds for social sector schemes in the areas of health, education and food security.
Blaming the state governments for high rates of taxation on petro products, he said the sales tax on petrol on diesel is as high as 33 and 24.7 per cent respectively.
"Some of the state governments are levying sales tax as high as 12.5 per cent on kerosene," he said.