Why petrol, diesel prices are high, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan explains

Pradhan says government has urged oil producing countries to look into the matter

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In a series of tweets, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan offered ‘two main reasons’ behind the recent rise in fuel prices

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday offered “two main reasons” behind the recent unprecedented rise in fuel prices in India, which has seen petrol breach the 100-mark in some cities.

“International market has reduced fuel production & manufacturing countries are producing less fuel to gain more profit. This is making the consumer countries suffer,” the minister said in a first of four tweets.

Pradhan said the government has been urging the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and “OPEC plus countries” – which include Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan and Sudan – to look into the matter.

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A third reason, the minister said, was the government’s decision to boost investment in development work, in order to pull the country out of the COVID-induced slump.

“We’ve to do various development work. For this, Centre & state govts collect tax. Spending on development work will generate more jobs. Govt has increased its investment & 34% more capital spending will be done in this budget,” he said.

State governments also need to increase spending, hence the high taxation on petrol and diesel, he added.

“I believe Finance Minister [Nirmala Sitharaman] can find a way.”

Also read: Nirmala Sitharaman has a solution for petrol, diesel price hike issue

Sitharaman on Saturday called the rising fuel price a “vexatious” issue and called for the Centre and state governments to have a “talk and bring down the retail fuel price at a reasonable level for consumers”.

Prices of petrol and diesel have shot up over the past 12 days, with petrol crossing the psychologically important 100-mark in some cities.

On Saturday, petrol prices again rose by 39 paise, taking the rate past 90 per litre in Delhi. Diesel was selling at 80.97 per litre after a hike of 37 paise.

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