Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said that the Modi government has spent around ₹ 91-lakh crore as developmental expenditure since 2014 till date. She was responding to former finance minister P Chidambaram’s comment about the very high collection of fuel tax but less spending on the people.
“RBI data shows total developmental expenditure incurred by Modi government in 2014-22 was ₹ 90.9-lakh crore, far higher than is being alleged by some sections of the Opposition. In contrast, only ₹ 49.2-lakh crore was spent on this during 2004-14, ”Sitharaman said in a series of tweets.
Earlier, Chidambaram had alleged that in the eight years of the Modi government, the Center collected ₹ 26.5-lakh crore as fuel taxes.
“There are approximately 26 crore families in India. That means from every family, the Central government has collected, on average, ₹ 1,00,000 as fuel tax! Ask yourself, what did an average family get in return for paying this huge amount as fuel tax, ”he asked in a tweet.
Sitharaman said that the expenditure incurred by the Modi government includes ₹ 24.85-lakh crore spent so far on food, fuel and fertilizer subsidies, and ₹ 26.3-lakh crore on capital creation.
“Over the 10 years of UPA, only ₹ 13.9-lakh crore was spent on subsidies. The developmental expenditure incurred by the Modi government of ₹ 90.9-lakh crore so far is over and above the ₹ 93,685.68 crore already spent between 2014-22 on repaying the UPA-era oil bonds. Further, an additional ₹ 1.48-lakh crore will be paid by 2026, ”she said.
Heated exchange amid rising fuel prices
These tweets have been exchanged at a time when a record 137-day hiatus in petrol and diesel price revision ended on March 22. On the same day, the price of a 14.2-kg LPG cylinder was increased to ₹ 949.50 in the national capital. In some places, the LPG price has touched ₹ 1,000. Since March 22, petrol and diesel prices have been raised by ₹ 10 each.
Meanwhile, CNG prices have risen by ₹ 13.1 per kg in the last month. Since, retail prices of petrol and diesel have a maximum share of tax and duties not just from the Center but also from the States, Oppositions are asking the government to lower the tax.
However, there is no response from any of the governments as of now. The Center did cut central excise duty on November 4 and then many States too cut sales tax.
April 10, 2022