Centre, states need to talk to ease load on consumer: FM on fuel price hike

Topics Centre | consumer | Fuel prices

Sitharaman had also interacted with businessmen and members of chambers of commerce in a post-budget discussion at the Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) earlier on Thursday.
Speaking on the fuel price hike issue, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday admitted that both the Centre and state needed to talk in a way to reduce burden on petrol and diesel consumers.

"If eventually, we want the consumer not to be bearing so much of the burden, it is the Centre and states that have to talk... Let's see what we can do," said Sitharaman while interacting with students and faculty at an event organised by the JSW School of Public Policy at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad.

"I strongly believe it is no longer competitive (between Centre and state). If the end consumer should pay less and I agree the burden should be less on them, it is no longer a competition between Centre and states," she added.

With certain parts of the country already seeing petrol prices touching Rs 100 per litre mark, the finance minister was asked whether fuel cess would be reduced. 

"It is not just the cess. You have an excise duty of the Centre then you have VAT of certain percentage by the states. We can bicker about who earns more. But even if you want to say, the Centre earns more, there is just no hiding the fact that there's revenue from it. You ask any state, there is a revenue consideration for both, Centre and the states," she stated in reply. 

In her address to the business stakeholders, Sitharaman stated that the government's intent was not to shut down the public sector units but it wanted private sector to infuse more capital and bring efficiency in their operations.

Sitharaman had also interacted with businessmen and members of chambers of commerce in a post-budget discussion at the Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) earlier on Thursday. Talking about divestment, the finance minister reiterated that the government's intention was not to shut down public sector undertakings (PSUs). "Government's intention is to make them run with more capital and more efficiency. If it can be done with the private sector, why not?" she had asked while adding "We trust (private) businesses and cannot keep pumping taxpayers money into PSUs."

Meanwhile, speaking on banking reforms, Sitharaman had said in her interaction with the trade and industry at AMA that the government wanted banks to run professionally. 

"We want banks to be more nimble and move faster to take decisions. We want India's banks to be big enough and scale up to meet with the demands of our growing economy. Can they meet the aspirations and big dreams of our young India? We need big banks, " she said.

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