In a media address, the finance minister said, “I am treading on an area where whatever I may say to bring reality into picture will sound like I am avoiding the answer or shifting the blame. Fuel price rise is an issue in which no answer except for reducing the price would convince anyone.”
Responding to a question, Sitharaman said that it is a ‘Dharma Sankat’ situation and Centre and states need to figure out a way so that end price to consumers or the retail price of fuel is at a reasonable level.
Stating that the price of petrol and diesel is worked up by the oil marketing companies (OMCs), she said that oil prices have been freed and the Centre has no control over it.
“The OMCs decide whether to reduce or hike oil prices depending upon the cost incurred in importing the crude, refining it, distribution and logistics,” she said.
Sitharaman further stressed that the constant hike in brent price since November, along with production cuts being predicted by Opec countires may put further pressure on oil prices in coming days.
On whether petrol, diesel can be brought under GST regime to bring down prices, the finance minister said that a decision on it can be taken only after a thorough discussion in GST council meet and with consultation among states.
“Once they agree on a rate, all over the country there can be a uniform rate of petrol. There can be just one tax that can be shared by both Centre and the states,” she said.
Petrol prices rose for the 12th straight day on Saturday, touching an all-time high of Rs 97 per litre in Mumbai while diesel rate crossed Rs 88-mark.
In Delhi, petrol price rose to Rs 90.58 a litre while diesel is priced at Rs 80.97 a litre.