CHENNAI: Terming the rising prices of petrol and diesel a “dharm sankat” (divine predicament), Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in Chennai on Saturday that it was the responsibility of the Centre and the states to sit together and find a way out.
Talking to reporters after attending a talk on the Union Budget, Sitharaman said, “I cannot make any promises to reduce fuel prices, just by holding the position of Union FM. Fuel price rise is an issue in which no answer except for reducing the price would convince anyone.”
Emphasising that none of the two taxes, the one raised by the Centre and the one raised by states, was holier than the other, she said, “But there is a revenue generation happening both by the Centre and the states. There has been an equal hike in Brent prices since November. And equally, the (oil) production predicted by Opec countries is also likely to come down further, which may aggravate the stress on price. The states and the Centre will have to sit together to see if there is a way in which we can come out.”
To a query whether petrol and diesel should be brought under GST, she said that’s something the GST Council will take a call on. “Oil marketing firms decide whether to reduce or hike prices, depending upon the cost incurred in importing crude, refining it, distribution and logistics,” the FM explained.
Petrol prices rose for the 12th straight day on Saturday, touching an all-time high of Rs 97 per litre in Mumbai, while diesel crossed the Rs 88-mark.