Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had no control over the rising fuel prices saying that the ‘marketing companies’ were responsible for determining the cost of petroleum products in India.
Speaking to reporters, Sitharaman said, “Technically, the oil prices have been freed. The government has nothing to do, no control over it.” The finance minister continued, “It’s the marketing companies which import the crude, refine it then distribute it, put the cost for logistics and everything.”
Sitharaman, however, said in the same breath that the state and the central governments needed to sit together to find a strategy to reduce the fuel prices even after saying that the government had no control over hte pricing of petroleum products.
“So the long and short of it is ; state and the centre will have to sit together to see if there’s a way in which we can come out so that the retail price of fuel is at a reasonable level,” she said.
Sitharaman said that she was not the only minister, who had the power to bring down the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.
Sitharaman’s comments came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed the previous Congress government for the rising prices of petrol and diesel.
पेट्रोल-डीज़ल के दाम सरकार के हाथ में नहीं है, ऑइल मार्केटिंग कंपनिया तय करती है दाम
— News24 (@news24tvchannel) February 20, 2021
Reacting to Sitharaman’s extraordinary statement, AAP MLA Somnath Bharti wrote, “Thanks a ton . @FinMinIndia Ji for such a wonderful explanation on the merciless increase in Fuel pricing making life of a common man hell! You seem to have surrendered and lost control on inflation! At least u didn’t advise people to opt 4 cycling and walking like Ramdev Ji etc.”
One user wrote, “Scientists continue to be astonished by how efficiently Nimmy converts oxygen into lies.” Another commented, “Madam @nsitharaman does the incumbent govt really takes us all to be fools? Admittedly OMC’s will decide their fuel margins, but it is the govt which collects the central excise & now a cess too, on every liter of petrol & diesel sold. And then there are LPG prices too.”
“Make everything private and then say that the price is not in the hands of the government. Tomorrow you will say the same about lentils, rice and all needy goods that’s why farmers are already careful. Stop privatisation of Natural Resources and govts institutions,” wrote another user.
The price of one litre petrol has breached the Rs. 100 mark in several parts of India for the first time in history. Netizens have been quick to dig out Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s old tweets attacking the then UPA government for the rising fuel prices even though the international crude oil prices were at an all-time high due to the global economic downturn.