New Delhi: Nirmala Sitharaman, the Union Finance Minister, said on Saturday that the government has insulated farmers from global fertiliser price increases by providing an additional sum of 1.10 lakh crore in addition to the 1.05 lakh crore already approved in the Union Budget 2022-23.
The Minister, who announced the cut in central excise duty on gasoline and diesel in a series of tweets, also stated that the government is dedicated to keeping prices of vital products under control.
She said the world is passing through difficult times and even as the world is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine conflict has brought in supply chain problems and shortages of various goods.
“This is resulting in inflation and economic distress in a lot of countries,” the minister said.
“Despite the challenging international situation, we’ve ensured that there are no shortages/scarcity of essential goods. Even a few developed countries couldn’t escape some shortages/disruptions. We are committed to ensure that prices of essential items are kept under control,” she added.
The minister stated that the Narendra Modi government is committed to the poor’s welfare.
“We’ve taken a number of steps to help the poor and middle class. As a result, the average inflation during our tenure has remained lower than during previous governments,” she said.
Nirmala Sitharaman said the Prime Minister has specifically asked all arms of the government to work with sensitivity and give relief to the common man.
“Keeping in line with @PMOIndia @narendramodi’s commitment to help the poor and common man, Today,, we are announcing more steps to help our people. Even during the pandemic, our government set a paradigm of welfare, especially with PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. This is now acknowledged and appreciated the world over,” she said.
“Despite rising fertilizer prices globally, we have protected our farmers from such price hikes. In addition to the fertilizer subsidy of ₹ 1.05 lakh crore in the budget, an additional amount of ₹ 1.10 lakh crore is being provided to further cushion our farmers,” the minister added.
Nirmala Sitharaman, who announced a cylinder subsidy under the Ujjwala plan, urged states to lower their VAT on petroleum items to help the common man.
The minister said the Centre’s decision will reduce the price of petrol by ₹ 9.5 per litre and of diesel by ₹ 7 per litre.
“We are reducing the Central excise duty on petrol by ₹ 8 per litre and on diesel by ₹ 6 per litre. This will reduce the price of petrol by ₹ 9.5 per litre and of diesel by ₹ 7 per litre. It will have a revenue implication of around ₹ 1 lakh crore/year for the government,” Nirmala Sitharaman said.
“I wish to exhort all state governments, especially the states where reduction wasn’t done during the last round (November 2021), to also implement a similar cut and give relief to the common man,” she added.
The minister said the government is also reducing the customs duty on raw materials and intermediaries for plastic products where the country’s import dependence is high. “This will result in a reduction of cost of final products.”
“Similarly we are calibrating customs duty on raw materials and intermediaries for iron and steel to reduce their prices. Import duty on some raw materials of steel will be reduced. Export duty on some steel products will be levied,” she added.
Nirmala Sitharaman said measures are being taken up to improve the availability of cement and through better logistics to reduce the cost of cement.
Wholesale inflation in India increased to 15.08 percent in April from 14.55 percent the previous month, according to government data released earlier this week, due to strong increases in the costs of fuel, metal, food and non-food articles, and chemical products.
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