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Oil minister accepts rising fuel prices problematic; says 'saving for welfare schemes'

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Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday admitted to the difficulties faced by citizens due to the skyrocketing prices of petrol and diesel.

Oil minister accepts rising fuel prices problematic; says 'saving for welfare schemes'
Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday admitted to the difficulties faced by citizens due to the skyrocketing prices of petrol and diesel. He, however, said that the government is saving for welfare schemes to continue efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I accept that current fuel prices are problematic for people but be it central or state government, over Rs 35,000 crores have been spent on vaccines in a year. In such dire times, we're saving money to spend on welfare schemes,” Pradhan told reporters.
Pradhan added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved Rs 1 lakh crore under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana scheme to give free food grains to the poor for eight months and that under the PM-Kisan scheme, thousands of crores have been directly deposited in the bank accounts of farmers. The MSP of crops was also hiked recently, he said.
The minister’s remarks come at a time when the prices of petrol and diesel have reached their all-time highs. In the last six weeks, the fuel prices have witnessed a hike of Rs 5.72 to Rs 6.25 per litre. This is a direct consequence of rising international oil prices and record-high central and state taxes.
Fuel prices differ from state to state and are determined after local taxes such as value-added tax (VAT) and freight charges are added. The price of one litre of petrol has crossed the century mark in six states and a union territory, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Ladakh.
Pradhan also took a jibe at opposition leader and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi over his constant criticism over the rise in fuel prices. “Rahul Gandhi must answer why fuel prices are high in Congress-ruled states like Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. If he is so concerned about the poor, he should instruct Maharashtra CM to reduce taxes as prices are very high in Mumbai,” he said.
In Delhi, petrol has seen a hike of 29 paise today and now costs Rs 96.41 per litre, while diesel is being sold at Rs 87.28 per litre, up by 30 paise. Cost of petrol in Mumbai stands at Rs 102.58 per litre, and diesel at Rs 94.70 per litre. Petrol is most expensive in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar selling at Rs 107.53 per litre while diesel in the city costs Rs 100.37 per litre.

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