Sitharaman rejects opposition allegations, says government believes in putting less burden on people
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday rejected opposition allegations against the government over the rise in fuel prices and said that the ruling alliance believes "in lowering the taxes and bringing less burden on common people".
She also referred to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and said when former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's claim about the Korean war affecting India's inflation can be accepted, why it cannot the same be said for the present situation.
"Even in 1951, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru could say that a Korean war can affect Indian inflation...But if today in a globally connected world, we say that Ukraine (war) is affecting us, it is not accepted," Sitharaman said replying to a debate on the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha.
She rejected the opposition's allegations that the hike in fuel prices was linked to the culmination of assembly elections in five states or that the government was keen to hike prices.
"We have not brought in extra burden. The global situation, a war-like situation is not a time when we are looking at racing. It has nothing to do with election time. If the oil market companies think that they are procuring a 15-day average at a higher rate, obviously we will have to bear."
She said the war in Ukraine has impacted all countries by disrupting the supply chains, particularly of crude oil.
"We as a government, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly believe in lowering the taxes and bringing less burden on common people. We have been doing it continuously and successfully," the Finance Minister said.
She asked the opposition parties to stop "politics" over GST compensation.
"Every state gets the compensation as per the decision of the GST Council. Many members do raise, the dues for this state is so much, that state is so much. Those are not decided by me. The dues are agreed... as of now Rs 53,000 odd crores are pending and that is also an amount decided by the council," Sitharaman said.
Replying to a point made by a member, she said GST Council has already extended the GST compensation cess till March 2026.