With petrol and diesel prices climbing to record high, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday said Congress governments in Rajasthan and Maharashtra should cut high sales tax if the party was concerned about fuel price burden on common man.
Petrol and diesel have risen to all-time high across the country after fuel rates rose by Rs 5.72 per litre to Rs 6.25 per litre in less than six weeks. This is due to a combination of rising international oil prices and record high central and state taxes.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event organised to inaugurate oxygen plant set up by Indraprastha Gas Ltd at Maharaja Agrasen Hospital, he said central and state governments need additional money from the taxes on petrol and diesel to meet expenses for fighting pandemic as well as on development work.
“I accept that fuel prices are pinching consumers,” he said, adding the government is spending Rs 1 lakh crore on providing free food grains to poor this year alone besides spending money on vaccines and healthcare infrastructure.
Asked about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s repeated attacks on the Modi government for skyrocketing fuel prices, Pradhan said, “Why is fuel expensive in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Punjab (which are ruled by the party)?”
“If Rahul Gandhi is concerned about the poor being hit by fuel prices, he should ask chief ministers of Congress-ruled states to cut taxes. He should ask (Maharashtra chief minister) Uddhav Thackeray to reduce taxes,” he said.