Continuing losses may compel govt to close welfare schemes: Salman Khurshid



Farrukhabad: Government wants to completely end subsidy on petroleum products, Union minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday said, cautioning that continued losses may compel it to close welfare schemes like MNREGA and NRHM.

"Hiking diesel price and putting a cap on the number of subsidised cooking gas cylinders was a compulsion for the government," Khurshid said while replying to questions during a press conference here.

The law minister said before taking this step there was a loss of Rs 2 lakh crore, but still the government has to bear a loss of Rs 1.6 lakh crore.

"People were benefiting with central schemes like MNREGA and National Rural Health Mission, but if government losses continue to increase then it would become a compulsion to close these schemes," Khurshid said.

Khurshid said in the days to come the government wants to end subsidy being given on petroleum products like cooking gas completely. On a question, Khurshid said that the CAG report could not be considered final.

"CAG report could be tabled in the Parliament only after presenting it before the Public Accounts Committee and parliamentary board," the minister said.

He also said that FDI was necessary for the progress of the country, as money was needed to run schemes for poor.

"After implementation of FDI, money would come from foreign countries," he claimed.

When asked about Arvind Kejariwal's announcement to float a political party, Khurshid said so far he was counted among "extraordinary people", but after forming the party he has become an ordinary person.

"Now he will level allegation on us and we will on him," he said.

On Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's statement regarding an expenditure of Rs 1,880 crore on foreign visits of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the minister said the person, who got the information in this regard through RTI, has told that only Rs 80 crore were spent on visits.

"Modi's language is bad and his mathematics is also poor," he alleged.

PTI