95 per cent of Indians do not need petrol at all and only a handful use four-wheelers, an Uttar Pradesh Minister said today as petrol and fuel prices increased for the second day in a row and touched new all-time highs.
Speaking to the media at Jalaun in western Uttar Pradesh, state minister Upendra Tiwari said the Opposition doesn't have any issue on which it can target the government. "You take figures from before 2014 and now. The per capita income has more than doubled after Modiji's and Yogiji's governments were formed," said the state minister.
"As for petrol and diesel prices, there are now a handful of people who use four-wheelers and need petrol. Currently, 95 per cent people in the society do not need petrol," Mr Tiwari said as people in state capital Lucknow paid Rs 103.18 for each litre of petrol. Prices in the metro cities have increased more, with Mumbai topping the rate list at Rs 112.44 per litre for petrol and Rs 103.26 for diesel.
Besides burning a hole into the pockets of people already reeling under the economic impact of the pandemic, the sharp hike in fuel prices has also pushed up commodity prices due to high transport costs.
"The government has given free vaccines to more than 100 crore people. It has given free Covid treatment. Medicines are being distributed from door to door," said the minister.
Earlier too, ministers and leaders of the BJP have spoken about the government providing free Covid vaccines when confronted with questions on the consistent hike in fuel prices.
Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli said earlier this month that the money for the free vaccines comes from the taxes that the central government collects. "Fuel prices aren't high but include the tax levied. You must've taken a free vaccine, where will the money come from? You haven't paid the money, this is how it was collected," he said.
Speaking in Jalaun, Mr Tiwari listed the government's initiatives in healthcare, education and other sectors. "Muft mein dawai, muft mein padhai, muft mein sinchai, muft mein kadhai," he said.
"Taking this into account and in comparison to other states, fuel prices in Uttar Pradesh and the country have seen only a slim hike," he said.
"If we compare it to per capita income, prices of petrol and diesel are very low," he said in reply to another query.