Tuesday, 23 Feb, 4.33 pm Kaumudi Online

Centre gives nod to bring petroleum under GST, if implemented then fuel will be available at Rs 55 per litre

NEW DELHI: Amid surging fuel prices in the country, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday termed "less fuel production by manufacturing countries to gain more profit" as one of the reasons behind the price hike.

"There are two main reasons for the fuel price rise. The international market has reduced fuel production and manufacturing countries are producing less fuel to gain more profit. This is making the consumer countries suffer," Mr Pradhan said during his visit to inspect the venue where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a rally in Assam's Dhemaji on Monday.

He further stated, "We have continuously been urging the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and OPEC plus countries that it should not happen. We hope there will be a change."

The prices of petrol and diesel are increasing continuously for more than 10 days and in some states, the price of petrol has even crossed ₹ 100 in some states.

Justifying the taxes levied on petrol and diesel, he said that the centre and the states are doing various development work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, for which they collect taxes, adding that these development projects generate jobs.

"Another reason is COVID. We have to do various development work. For this, centre and state governments collect the tax. Spending on development work will generate more jobs. The government has increased its investment and 34 per cent more capital spending will be done in this budget. State governments will also increase spending. This is why we need this tax but there is also the need for balance. I believe the Finance Minister and state governments can find a way," stated the minister.

Amid an outcry over record high petrol and diesel prices, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said the centre and state governments will together have to work out a mechanism to bring retail rates to reasonable levels.

He further stated, "In the last 6 years, the Petroleum Ministry has invested around ₹ 95,000 crore on various projects which are about to complete. We will make Assam and the Northeast self-reliant in energy. We are also increasing the capacity of the Numaligarh Refinery Limited, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation is increasing its oil production in Assam, we have made BCPL operational. These measures will provide employment to the youth of the state."

Mr Pradhan also said that apart from the Central government projects, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also inaugurate the Dhemaji Engineering College and lay the foundation stone for Sualkuchi Engineering College.

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