New Delhi: Amit Shah on Saturday said that the NDA government is monitoring the current prices of petrol and diesel closely and that a long-term solution would be formed.
Addressing a press conference on the fourth anniversary of the Modi government, the BJP president assured that a solution to the current scenario of soaring prices would be found. "Government is thinking about it and will form a long-term solution for it," he said.
The government has been facing severe criticism - especially from opposition parties - for record high prices. Amit Shah however said prices were high even before 2014 when Congress was in power. "The current prices of petrol and diesel were the same during three years of Congress government. But they are fed up of these raised prices in only three days in our government?" he asked.
Critics though have largely blamed repeated hikes in excise tax by the Modi government for the current situation. While BJP maintains that prices of petrol and diesel in India are linked to international crude prices, the record highs of $140 a barrel was when UPA was in power. Once PM Modi came to power, international prices began coming down but the government - between November 2014 and January 2016 - hiked excise tax nine times to shore up finances. Earlier this week, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said that the taxes are being used for welfare schemes and any cut would have an impact on these programs.
Bringing fuel prices under GST has been offered as one solution but no state - including the 21 where BJP has a government either directly or in an alliance - has even tabled the matter.
There, however, was some sign of a possible relief on Saturday when international crude prices fell by 2% after Russia and Saudi Arabia hinted at increasing production.`