Govt Can Cut Upto Rs 25 on Petrol, Says Ex-Finance Min Chidambaram

As the prices of petrol and diesel plummet in the country, former finance minister P Chidambaram trained his guns on the central government for ignoring the plight of the people.

In a series of tweets, Chidambaram claimed that it is possible for the government to cut the petrol prices up to Rs 25 per litre, alleging that the government was cheating on consumers.

Chidambaram went ahead to claim that the government saves Rs 15 on every litre of petrol due to a fall in crude prices, but the benefit is not transferred to the customers.

The increasing prices of diesel and petrol has sparked a public outrage in the country and Union Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla had said on Tuesday, 22 May that recent hikes in prices of petrol and diesel in the country are a result of global crude oil price increase and US sanctions on Iran.

But, is that the sole reason behind the soaring petrol and diesel prices in India?

According to a report in Business Standard, in 2008, when P Chidambaram was the finance minister in the UPA regime, global crude oil prices had soared past the $150-a-barrel mark, but the prices of diesel and petrol were covered.

In 2008, the government was still regulating petrol and diesel – offering government subsidy – which kept a check on the fuel prices. However, in order to reduce the Government of India’s subsidy bill, petrol prices were deregulated in 2010 and diesel was deregulated in 2014, following which oil prices were linked to market forces.

Today, with crude trading at $80 a barrel, the prices of petrol and diesel are sky-rocketing at Rs 77.17 and Rs 68.34.

‘We Are Finding Ways to Bring down Prices’

Addressing the media on Tuesday, 22 May, Union Minister of State for finance Shiv Pratap Shukla had said the government was trying "to find a way out to bring down the prices".

"The government has not failed in controlling the prices of petrol and diesel but it’s due to steep rise in crude prices in international market and breaking of US-Iran pact, which has affected not only India but other countries as well. " - Shiv Pratap Shukla

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has also suggested bringing petrol under the GST to control prices but imposing the GST will not be possible until a general consensus is drawn by GST council, he said.

On the protest and demonstration on the fuel price issue by the Opposition, he said, "The government is putting efforts to balance and lower the price and we can't say anything on Opposition protests as it is their work."

(With inputs from Business Standard, Firstpost and NDTV.)

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