Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday blamed the recent surge in global crude oil prices for the fuel price hike in India. Noting that petrol and diesel have become costlier in recent times, Pradhan said it is up to the GST Council to decide whether the fuel should be brought under the Goods and Services Tax, which, many believe, would substantially bring down the prices. "The prices of petroleum products have gone up.
The main reason is that the price of crude oil has gone over USD 70 (per barrel) in the international market. This negatively impacts consumers here, as India imports 80 per cent of its oil requirement," he said. The minister was responding to a query raised by reporters about the recent fuel price hike. He was in Gandhinagar to witness the signing of an MoU between the Gujarat government and the Indian Oil Corporation about the expansion in IOC's refinery in Vadodara. Asked about his stand to include fuel in the GST regime as a measure to give respite to citizens from the price rise, Pradhan said he agrees with the idea. "The price of this commodity is regulated by the global market. As a sector in-charge, I am of the opinion that fuel should be brought under the GST. But, it will be done only when members of the GST council reach a consensus on it.
It is the GST Council which will take a collective decision about it," he said. Earlier in the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at the Centre over the rise in petrol prices, and said the waves of tax collection epidemic are continuously coming. His remarks came as petrol prices in several cities crossed Rs 100 and were nearing the mark in Delhi. "The process of unlocking has started in many states. While paying the bill at the petrol pump, you will see the rise in inflation by the Modi government. The waves of tax collection epidemic are continuously coming," Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi. The Congress has been critical of the government over the rising prices of petrol and diesel. The opposition party has also been demanding that petrol and diesel be brought under the purview of the GST regime.