CNBC TV-18 | Hardeep Singh Puri says fuel prices in India are among the lowest in the world

Apr 19,2023

"Opposition noise on fuel prices in the country is based on a deeply flawed narrative. On the contrary, the prices are among the lowest in the world largely due to PM Narendra Modi Ji’s efforts at ensuring energy availability & affordability," he said in a tweet.

He also batted for cutting taxes on fuel by respective state governments, arguing that the Centre had cut excise duty twice in the past — once In November 2021 and another in May 2022, which amounted cumulatively to Rs 13 per litre on petrol and Rs 15 per litre on diesel.

Puri blamed some Opposition-ruled states for not cutting VAT to pass on the relief to consumers. As per his tweet, the VAT rates on both petrol and diesel range between Rs 14.5 per litre to Rs 17.5 per litre in BJP-ruled states while the prices are above Rs 26 per litre in states governed by Opposition parties.

Listing out other steps by the Centre to keep domestic prices low, Puri said the Union government also imposed an export cess along with a windfall tax on domestically-produced petroleum products in 2022.

Puri also blamed long-term oil bonds worth Rs 1.44 lakh crore issued by the erstwhile UPA government between 2005 and 2012 for the current prices. "Indian taxpayers are still paying back Rs 3.2 lakh crore as interest plus principal."

Regarding soaring domestic gas prices, Puri said steps such as increasing domestic gas allocation to about 250 percent of the allocation and diverting domestic gas from other non-priority sectors to meet the requirements proved instrumental in keeping prices low.

"While natural gas prices at the international gas indices (Japan Korea Marker) have increased by up to 228 percent between January 2021 and February 2023, in India the CNG (compressed natural gas) price rise (Delhi representative market) was restricted to about 83 percent," he is quoted as saying in an article in The Tribune.

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