When will prices of petrol and diesel be reduced? 'It's a dharam sankat', says Sitharaman
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday that she won't be able to answer when the prices of petrol and diesel will be reduced. Sitharaman said it's a "dharam sankat (dilemma)".
"I won't be able to say 'when'.. it is a ‘dharam sankat’ (dilemma)," she said at an event in Ahmedabad.
"It's not just the cess. You have the excise duty of the Centre, then you have the VAT of the states. So there's is no hiding the fact that there is revenue there. It's not just me, you ask any state. There's revenue there," the finance minister further said.
She reiterated that the only way to find a solution to this problem is that the Centre and states should hold a dialogue. "I concede that's where action has to be, let's see what we can do," said Sitharaman, adding that she agrees the end users should pay less for fuel.
Earlier in the day, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das had said there is a need for coordinated action between the Centre and state governments to reduce taxes on petrol and diesel prices.
“There is a need for coordinated action between the Centre and states because there are inherent taxes levied by both,” the Governor said adding that calibrated reduction of taxes was important.
He, however, said both the Centre and the state governments have their revenue pressures and they are required to spend high sums of money to enable the country and the people to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic stress.
Over a period of time, the prices of petrol and diesel have increased sharply in the country. In some cities, the price has reached ₹100 per litre.
The opposition parties have been attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government over the fuel price hike. On Thursday, in an unusual protest against the LPG price hike, a Congress spokesperson on Thursday conducted a press conference sitting on an empty cylinder as the party accused the Narendra Modi government of being "anti-people".
There has been no hike in fuel prices on Thursday and the rates of petrol and diesel prices in Delhi remain ₹90.93 per litre and ₹81.32 per litre respectively.