According to the union minister, the government is spending ₹1 lakh crore on providing free food grains to poor this year. Besides, the Centre has spent ₹35,000 crore on vaccines and healthcare infrastructure.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved ₹1 lakh crore under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana scheme to give free food grain to the poor for eight months. Under PM-Kisan, thousands of crores have been directly deposited in the bank accounts of our farmers. The MSP was hiked recently. And all this is happening in the current year," Pradhan was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"I accept that current fuel prices are problematic for people but be it central/state government, over ₹35,000 crores have been being spent on vaccines in a year... In such dire times, we're saving money to spend on welfare schemes," Pradhan added.
#WATCH | I accept that current fuel prices are problematic for people but be it central/state govt, over ₹35,000 crores have been being spent on vaccines in a year... In such dire times, we're saving money to spend on welfare schemes: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan pic.twitter.com/ugObtQYiB6
Petrol and diesel have risen to an all-time high across the country after fuel rates rose by ₹5.72 to ₹6.25 per litre in less than six weeks. This is due to a combination of rising international oil prices and record-high central and state taxes.
Further, the union oil minister took a jibe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi following his latest remark on rising fuel prices.
Pradhan said, "Why is fuel expensive in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Punjab (which are ruled by the party)?" "If Rahul Gandhi is concerned about the poor being hit by fuel prices, he should ask chief ministers of Congress-ruled states to cut taxes. He should ask (Maharashtra Chief Minister) Uddhav Thackeray to reduce taxes".
However, the minister did not say if BJP-ruled states like Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, which too have seen petrol price cross ₹100 a litre mark due to local taxes, would follow suit.
Petrol has crossed ₹100-mark in seven states and union territories -- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Ladakh.
In Delhi, petrol has hit an all-time high of ₹96.12 a litre, while diesel is now priced at ₹86.98 per litre.
Mumbai became the first metro in the country where petrol was being sold at over ₹100 a litre on May 29 . Petrol now costs ₹102.30 a litre in the city and diesel comes for ₹94.39.
Petrol and diesel prices have been raised on 23 occasions since May 4, when state-owned oil firms ended an 18-day hiatus in rate revision.
The excise tax on petrol was ₹9.48 per litre when the PM Modi-led NDA government took office in 2014, and that on diesel was ₹3.56 a litre. Excise duty on petrol now is ₹32.90 per litre and makes up for 34 per cent of the retail selling price.
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