MoS Petroleum says fuel price hiked to provide free vaccines
Amid soaring fuel prices in the country, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli on Monday said that fuel prices are rising due to free COVID-19 vaccines. Teli, an MP from Assam's Dibrugarh district, said the money collected from the taxes on petrol and diesel was used to procure COVID-19 vaccines. Here's more on what he said.
Speaking in Guwahati, Teli said, "Our government has aimed to vaccinate 130 crore people of the country at free of cost. From where will the money for COVID-19 vaccines come?" "The cost of the vaccines has come from these taxes (on fuel)," he added. Teli said that the funds of his ministry were recently diverted to the Health Ministry to tackle the COVID-19 situation.
Comparing packaged mineral water and petrol, Teli said a bottle of Himalayan water is costlier than a liter of petrol. He said, "If you want to drink Himalayan water, then you have to pay Rs. 100 for one bottle."
Further, the minister blamed the high value-added tax (VAT) imposed by Opposition-ruled states—singling out Rajasthan and Maharashtra—for the skyrocketing prices. He said the states are doing so to defame the Narendra Modi government. "They are thinking that if the price of oil will increase more by levying more taxes by them then the Modi government will be defamed," he said.
Teli lauded the BJP-ruled Assam government for imposing the least VAT on fuel. He said Assam has the lowest VAT on fuel at Rs. 28 as it was reduced by Rs. 2 during elections. He further said that his ministry does not fix the prices of fuel, adding, "The commerce department has fixed it..it has been linked with the international market."
Meanwhile, fuel prices are skyrocketing in the country and have crossed the Rs. 100 mark in several parts of the country. Petrol now costs Rs. 104.44 per liter in Delhi after it was hiked for the seventh consecutive day on Monday. Among major cities, fuel rates remained the highest in Mumbai, where petrol is retailing at Rs. 110.41 per liter.