finance: finance minister blames Putin’s war, UPA oil bonds for fuel price hike | India News

NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said that the war in Ukraine had resulted in higher petrol and diesel prices and the government is seeking to respond to the situation.
The statement came as oil prices raised pump prices again on Tuesday, pushing petrol beyond the Rs 100 a liter mark in the capital.
“The disruption in supply and resultant increase in price of global oil is all happening since a couple of weeks ago and we are responding to it. Various steps have been taken by the government, ”the FM said in the Rajya Sabha, while responding to the debate on the Appropriation and the Finance bills which were cleared by the Upper House.
At the same time, she slammed the UPA for issuing oil bonds of Rs 2 lakh crore. “Taxpayers of today are paying for the subsidy which was dished out to consumers more than a decade ago, in the name of oil bonds, and they will continue to pay for the next five years as the redemption of bonds continues till 2026. That burden is also on us for the benefits given, apparently, through the oil bonds raised 10 years ago, ”she said. While admitting that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government too had resorted to the instrument, the FM said that the scale was different.
Responding to opposition criticism on cesses and surcharges, Sitharaman said that from 2013 to 2022-23, utilization of health & education cess was estimated at over Rs 3.9 lakh crore as against collection of under Rs 3.8 lakh crore and it was primarily funding centrally sponsored schemes. in states.
She also countered the view that states were getting a lower share of Centre’s taxes and said this year’s revised estimates were significantly higher than the budget estimates and last year’s transfers as the Center had finally settled dues which had been pending for several years. “Devolution that had been piling up since 1996-97 till 2014-15 has been reconciled by the Modi government and we have cleared Rs 43,000 crore as of Feb 28… This (devolution formula to states) is well-established and there is no way Any individual or any government can tinker with that process, ”the minister said.
She also said that former FM P Chaidambaram’s criticism over settlement of Air India’s outstanding amount was unfair as the Center had followed the same accounting principle for years and everything was disclosed in the budget documents.

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