Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said that the Narendra Modi government is deliberating on an “immediate solution” to deal with rising fuel prices in the country.
“The oil ministry is of the view to bring petroleum products under the purview of the GST in order to bring down the prices of petrol and diesel. We are deliberating on an immediate solution to this problem till that time,” Pradhan told media persons in Bhubaneswar.
Pradhan further said that the central government will certainly find a way out to deal with the situation arising out of rising fuel prices in the country.
The minister recalled the central government had in October last year reduced the excise on fuel by Rs 2 per litre keeping in view the interest of the poor people, adding the Centre is looking at both short and long term solutions this time.
Pradhan also pointed out that the political difference between two oil producing countries Iran and Venezuela was a major cause behind the rise in the price of fuel in the international market.”
The oil minister also asked the Odisha government to reduce VAT on petroleum products to contain the cascading effect on rising fuel prices.
Odisha Finance Minister S B Behera, however, criticised Pradhan and accused him of “evading responsibility.”
“The reasons that the union oil minister is giving is not justified. He is telling this to suppress the central government’s inability to deal with the situation. The price of petrol and diesel will automatically come down if the centre reduces excise duty,” he said.
On Pradhan’s suggestions to include petroleum products under GST, Behera said, “All the state governments will take a decision in regard to the proposal of including petroleum products under GST. Now the Centre should not escape from its responsibility.”
Both opposition Congress and ruling BJD in Odisha have launched agitations against the spiralling prices of petrol and diesel.
(With PTI inputs)