Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan lashed out at Congress President Sonia Gandhi for raking up the issue of petroleum prices during times of COVID-19 pandemic when the government has been making efforts to help poor and needy with direct cash transfers. Minister Pradhan, without mincing any words, said that the Narendra Modi-led government directly transfers money into the accounts of poor through DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) rather than depositing it into the accounts of “son-in-law” and Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.
“During the last three months government has directly transferred ₹65,454 crore into the bank accounts of 42 crore poor people through DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer). This cash transfer has been done directly into the bank accounts of poor people without any intermediaries. Modi ji’s scheme means distribution to poor, there’s no concept of filling the treasuries,” explained Dharmendra Pradhan.
Dharmendra Pradhan castigated Sonia Gandhi that her idea of DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) may be to have transfers done into her son-in-law’s accounts and to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. “Modi ji’s DBT idea is to transfer into the back accounts of poor,” said Dharmendra Pradhan.
Sonia Gandhi has attacked the Narendra Modi-led government for raising fuel prices twenty two times since the lockdown, wherein the Congress President accused government of “extorting” people, and sought an immediate rollback of the hikes. Sonia Gandhi raked up the issue of fuel price in times of Coronavirus pandemic without knowing how the pandemic has affected economic demand and thrown up unforeseen challenges before the Modi government. Dharmendra Pradhan explained in clear terms that the tax money from petrol and diesel is being spent in providing health cover, employment and economic security to the people whose livelihood have been adversely affected due to prolonged lockdown after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
Sonia Gandhi must know that after a nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24, 2020 to contain the spread of pandemic a budget of ₹1,70,000 crore was sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana that entailed direct cash transfers into the bank accounts of poor people and farmers. The free ration being provided under this scheme has now been extended by PM Modi till November-end. For three months poor families were also given LPG cylinders for free. In a democracy it’s the right of opposition to criticize government’s actions but playing politics on government schemes meant for the poor only means that Congress President Sonia Gandhi does not want benefits from welfare schemes to reach the poor people, rather she wants to cash upon the pandemic for political mileage.
Dharmendra Pradhan explained that entire global economy is under severe strain due to the pandemic and it has also posed demand issues for petroleum products. The common consumer has not been much affected by recent price hike in petroleum products as their demand had gone down by 70% in April and May before it revived in June after the lockdown was eased. “When a family faces a crisis, then members arrange financial resources to deal with it and the recent hike in oil products should be seen in a similar manner.”