The Union Oil Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said that the Centre was looking for an ‘immediate solution’ to the surge in petrol and diesel prices as prices continue rising every day. He said that the Centre is in search of both short-term and long-term solutions to the problem.
According to him, the Ministry is considering bringing petroleum products under the purview of the GST in order to bring down the prices of petrol and diesel. He attributed the cause of this increment in fuel prices to the political difference between Iran and Venezuela leading to a rise in fuel prices in the international market.
The situation has further been exacerbated by the declining value of Indian rupee. Brent, the benchmark international rate for petrol, continues to remain in the high range increasing the pressure on the government to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel.
However, Pradhan doesn’t see this as a potential solution as the central government had reduced the excise duty on fuel by Rs. 2 per litre only recently in the wake of poor. Instead, he plans on asking the state governments to reduce VAT on petroleum products to bring relief in the prices while the Centre thinks over a long term solution.
The rise in fuel prices is drawing sharp criticism from the Opposition with agitations in many parts of the country being launched by the Congress. In a recent tweet to Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi even warned him to look into the fuel price matter or there will be a nationwide agitation which will force him to reduce the prices.