Ahmedabad: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday that she won’t be able to answer when the prices of petrol and diesel will be reduced.
“I won’t be able to say ‘when’. It is a ‘dharam sankat’ (dilemma),” she said at an event in Ahmedabad after being asked when would the Central Government reduce fuel prices, which have increased sharply in the past few days in the country.
“It is not just the cess. You have an excise duty of the Centre, then you have the Value Added Tax (VAT) of the states. You are right when you say that the centre earns more. Everything that the centre earns, 40 per cent goes to states. So there is just no hiding the fact that there is revenue there. It is not just me, you ask any state. There is revenue there…. There is revenue consideration, both by the centre and state and that is why I strongly believe it’s no longer competitive,” she added.
The Finance Minister reiterated that the only way to find a solution to this problem is that the “Centre and states should hold a dialogue.”
“I agree that the end-users should pay less for fuel. I concede that’s where action has to be. Let’s see what we can do,” she said.
She said this while interacting with the students of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, on the topic “The Economic Rebound and the Indian Economy in 2021 and Beyond”.
Highlighting the proposed investment for healthcare in the Union Budget 2021-22, Sitharaman said, “For a country like India, we can’t but invest more in health infrastructure. This budget didn’t just focus on more AIIMS-like hospitals but also on non-AIIMS-like ones. Besides super-specialty, you also need more primary and tertiary healthcare centres.”