Image Source : FILE Union Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri

Amid the massive outcry over the increase in fuel prices in Karnataka, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri came down heavily on the Congress party and said that India managed to reduce the fuel prices during turbulence in the international market because PM Modi led government reduced excise duty twice hinting that the Congress-ruled states did not reduce VAT like the BJP ruled states. 

Puri said, “Bharat is the only country, where prices of petrol and diesel over a representative period have come down in the case of petrol by about 2% or so and diesel by a little per cent instead of going up. How did we manage this? PM Modi reduced the excise duty levied by the Centre on two occasions, November 21 and May 2022. As a result, central excise duty came down and all the BJP states also reduced the VAT that they charged.”

Puri compared oil price differences in BJP and opposition-ruled states

Hinting no VAT reduction in opposition-ruled states, Puri compared the fuel rates between various state capitals. He said, “The difference in price between Itanagar and Chennai is Rs 9.90 for petrol, between Lucknow and Telangana is Rs 12.76, between Gandhinagar and Bengaluru, is Rs 8.21, between Panaji and Kerala is Rs 12.35, between Guwahati and Kolkata is Rs 6.80.”

Moreover, he slammed Congress for issuing Oil bonds during its government which became a liability for today. Puri said, “.Between 2004 and 2014, Congress introduced petrol bonds. They floated Rs 1.41 lakh crores and today we are having to pay back Rs 3.20 lakh crores.” He further said that Congress talks about reducing inflation “khata-khat” but their actions increased it “khata-khat”.

Petroleum Minister praises Modi government

Emphasising the mechanism of oil price determination and praising the Modi government for keeping oil prices in control during international turmoils, the petroleum minister said, “The price of petrol and diesel at the bunk is determined in large part due to the international prevailing price because we import 85% of our requirements of crude oil.”

He added that between 2004 and 2014 the price of petrol and diesel in Bengaluru went up by 84 per cent while in diesel, it went up by 111 per cent. This happened because the international price had gone up and to that, the cost of insurance, freight, and refining margin were added. In contrast, the minister said, “In our time, from 2014 to 2024, there was turbulence in the international situation, there was a Russia-Ukraine war situation which is still going on, there was a problem closer to home in the Red Sea, attacks by Houthi rebels…Yet we have been able to navigate the international situation.”

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