Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday said India imports a very small portion of its oil requirements from Russia and was open to buying it if the terms were right. He said India has to look after its interests.
"We are situated close to gulf countries like Iran which has lot of oil...We've energy relations with Russia, we buy crude from them but our total imports are not more than 0.2 per cent, we're open to buying if terms are right, we've to look after our interests," Puri told ANI. The Union Minister further referred to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on fuel prices.
"We're yet to recover from a pandemic, still feeding 80 crore people and looking after vaccines. There was military action in Ukraine...Oil prices went up from USD19.56/barrel to USD130...Centre charged Rs 32 excise on petrol-diesel, before Diwali we reduced it and rates went down," he said.
Amid the war of words between the Centre and the Opposition over the fuel taxes, Puri said that the Centre would be happy to bring petrol and diesel under the GST regime but states are not willing to do so.
"My understanding is the Centre would be happy in bringing petrol and diesel under GST... the fact of the matter is that the states aren't willing for same. They make a killing from revenues of petrol, diesel and alcohol...when debt rises they blame others...Punjab is the case in example," the minister told ANI.
The Union Minister took a dig at the Opposition and said that the government has "assumed its responsibility" in the fuel sector and the states should also take the onus on the issue of slashing the value-added taxes on petrol and diesel.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been consistent. He has advocated for the best spirit of cooperative federalism pertaining to the issue of livelihoods. Burden sharing need not be equal, the Center has assumed its responsibility in the fuel sector, the states too should take onus," he added.