Petroleum Minister explains why petrol prices are not coming down
(Sourced from PTI)
Petrol prices in the country are not coming down as the states do not want to bring fuel under the ambit of the GST, Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said. In an interview, Puri said petrol prices crossed the Rs. 100-mark in West Bengal as the TMC government is levying heavy taxes. Here are more details.
"If your question is do you want the petrol prices to come down then the answer is yes. Now, if your question is why the petrol prices are not coming down, then the answer is because the states don't want to bring it under GST," he said. "The Centre charges Rs. 32 per liter (as taxes on petrol)," he said.
"We charged Rs. 32 per liter when the fuel price was $19 per barrel, and we are still charging the same even when the price rose to $75 per barrel," Puri said. "With this Rs. 32 per liter, we provide free ration, free housing, and Ujjawala, among several other schemes, to the people," he added.
Puri said the West Bengal government increased prices by Rs. 3.51 per liter in July, resulting in the petrol crossing the century-mark. "The combined taxation is around 40 percent in West Bengal. It is very easy to make statements. Had you (TMC government) not increased the price by Rs. 3.51, then it would have been still under Rs. 100 per liter," he said.
Puri was in Kolkata on Wednesday to campaign for the Bhabanipur bypoll in which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is the TMC candidate against BJP's Priyanka Tibrewal and CPI(M)'s Srijib Biswas. "If the result of the by-election is a foregone conclusion, then why is the entire state Cabinet campaigning? We're confident about a victory, and post-poll violence is a major issue," he claimed.
On the political developments in Punjab, Puri said it reflects the "terminal decline" of Congress. "Definitely it is an indication of Congress party's terminal decline. I am choosing my words very carefully. In Bengal, they fought with one set of allies. In Kerala, they fought with a different set of allies. They are drawing almost blank everywhere," he said.
"In UP, where the Congress party grew up, I don't know who wants to partner them," he said. "What is going on with the Congress in Punjab is a comedy and theater of the absurd," Puri added. Further, pitching for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the minister said the Afghanistan crisis proved why it was necessary.