Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said that the government would talk to its allies on the issue of fuel price hike but gave enough hints that a rollback would be difficult.
Party sources said that Mukherjee briefed the Congress MPs about the salient features of the budget in the backdrop
of the demands for a rollback in fuel prices and explained why reduction in the excise duty on petroleum products was
The Finance Minister informed the Congress MPs about the challenges before the government in the current economic
Mukherjee is learnt to have told the MPs that since no new taxes have been imposed in the Budget and the government
is expecting a GDP of 8.5 percent from 7.2 per cent in the outgoing financial year, some steps were required to mop up
revenues. This was more so as the government plans to invest heavily in the social sector schemes, the sources said.
He also gave a comparative chart of the fuel price hike done under the UPA and the NDA respectively in which he
explained that the rise in prices of petroleum products was far less during the UPA rule as compared to that of the NDA.
Mukherjee also told the MPs that the minimum support price for foodgrains was doubled under the UPA as compared to that under the NDA.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi is expected to explain the party's position on the issue of rollback when she
addresses a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party tomorrow.