Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said revenue collected by way of excise duty, even when crude oil prices were low, had helped in ushering in innumerable developmental and pro-poor programmes and 42 per cent of it was shared with states. Hence the responsibility of reducing taxes cannot be that of the Centre alone, Pradhan added.

Reacting to widespread criticism on the spiralling rise in price of petrol, diesel and the failure of the Centre to reduce taxes, Pradhan iterated that they are working on a long term formula.

Repeating that the hike is due to two major reasons- cut down in production and international factors like developments in Iran and Venezuela as well as the fall of the rupee vis a vis the dollar.

The Petroleum Minister said he would not question states who need to generate revenue for welfare programmes , but when the Centre reduced excise duty in last October, some states like Odisha did not reduce VAT.

Odisha levies 26 per cent on fuel , why does it not reduce this to 12 per cent like Goa , he asked while responding to the ruling BJD here resorting to agitation over the issue.

Pradhan dubbed former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s tweet on oil prices as an example of ‘bankruptcy’ .

Besides, the state share in taxes like excise, the Centre does provide sixty to 70 per cent share in all centrally sponsored schemes to states like the PMAY, MGNREGS, NRHM, said Pradhan. He favoured inclusion of petrol and diesel in GST.

Answering a question on the Congress Party demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for having allowed Chhattisgarh to illegally construct barrages upstream of Mahanadi , Pradhan said UPA was in power from 2004-2014 and it should owes an apology for Mahanadi as well as Polavaram.

Congress must also apologise for having humiliated and trying to impeach Chief Justice of India Deepak Mishra, an Odia of eminence, remarked Pradhan.

The Congress is anti-Odisha, it had ruled the state for decades and ruined the state, Pradhan charged.