New Delhi: There seems to be no relief in sight for the common man reeling under the rising prices of fuel as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday ruled out a cut in excise duty on petrol and diesel to ease rates that have touched all-time highs, saying payments in lieu of past subsidised fuel price pose limitations. The previous Congress-led UPA government had issued bonds to state-owned oil companies to make up for the difference in the artificially suppressed retail selling price of fuel and the cost. These oil bonds and the interest thereon are being paid now, she said.Also Read - Swiggy, Zomato Will Now Pay GST on Restaurant Services Supplied Through Them, Says Sitharaman
“UPA Govt had reduced fuel prices by issuing Oil Bonds of Rs 1.44 lakh crores. I can’t go by the trickery that was played by previous UPA Govt. Due to Oil Bonds, the burden has come to our Govt, that’s why we are unable to reduce prices of petrol and diesel,” the FM was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. Also Read - GST On Retro Fitment Kits For Vehicles Used By Disable People Cut to 5%: Sitharaman
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Sitharaman said the government has paid over Rs 60,000 crore interest in the last 5 years on these oil bonds and there still was an outstanding of Rs 1.30 lakh crore. “If I did not have the burden to service the oil bonds, I would have been in a position to reduce excise duty on fuel,” she said at a press conference here.
“People are right to be concerned. Unless the Centre and states discuss a way out, there is no solution possible to this,” the FM added.
(With inputs from agencies)