“The rare day GOI does not hike fuel prices is the exception which proves the rule that prices are increased everyday,” Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter.
The rare day GOI does not hike fuel prices is the exception which proves the rule that prices are increased everyday. #FuelPriceHike
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) 1623999283000
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said while people are “cutting their stomachs” during the crisis following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Narendra Modi government is busy picking their pockets.
“In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, the public hoped that the government would provide them relief, but the government has come up with a ‘hurting plan’ for them,” she said in a tweet in Hindi.
Noting that the petrol and diesel prices have been raised 52 times in 2021, she said the prices of mustard oil, refined, tur, moong dal and sugar are also on fire.
“While people are cutting their stomachs, the Modi government is picking their pockets,” the Congress general secretary said.
Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala called the ruling BJP the “Bharatiya Janloot Party” and said the government, which is drunk in the arrogance of power, raised the petrol and diesel prices again by 27 paise and 28 paise respectively on Friday.
He said in 12 states, petrol is selling for over Rs 100 per litre and since May 4, 2020, in the last 13 months, the petrol rates have been raised by Rs 27.34 and that of diesel by Rs 25.40.
“Coronavirus epidemic-inflation-Modi government are all harmful for the country. Despite an outcry among people, the continuous increase in the prices of petrol and diesel is a direct hit on their pockets,” Surjewala said in a tweet in Hindi.
2/2कोरोना महामारी-महंगाई-मोदी सरकार, तीनों देश के लिए हानिकारक है।देशवासियों में मचे हाहाकार के बावजूद पेट्रोल-… https://t.co/MYPXgESA0q
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) 1624017503000
Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said the Centre should reduce the excise duty on petrol and diesel as the state taxes are calculated on it and once it is reduced, it will have a cascading effect.
He said in 2014, the excise duty on petrol was Rs 9.20 per litre, while it is Rs 32.90 currently, which means a 258-per cent increase in the last seven years. The excise duty on diesel was Rs 3.46 per litre, while it is Rs 31.80 currently, which means an 820-per cent increase.
“Has any state government increased the duties to the extent of 258 per cent and 820 per cent? When the state governments have not increased their taxes and the major increase is the excise duty on petrol and diesel by the government of India, then how dare you ask the state governments to reduce their taxes?” he asked.
In the last seven years, the Centre has collected more than Rs 24 lakh crore in the form of excise duty, whereas the state governments have made a total collection of Rs 14 lakh crore as taxes on petrol and diesel, the Congress leader said.
“When the major increase is by the government of India, the major decrease should also come from it first,” he said.
Vallabh’s remarks came after Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan urged the states to reduce their taxes on petrol and diesel.
The Congress leader said Pradhan talking about following dynamic pricing is flawed as during the recent elections to four states and a Union Territory, the crude oil prices increased by Rs 720 per barrel, but instead of increasing the petrol and diesel prices, the rates were slashed.
Currently, the crude oil price is $72 per barrel and it was $30 per barrel in April 2020, he said while asking why the government was not able to pass on the benefit to the consumers.
“It means the petrol and diesel pricing is not dynamic pricing but purely political pricing. You are passing on the burden, why was this ‘gyan’ (knowledge) not there before 2014 when the BJP used to do all kind of drama?” the Congress leader asked.
He said the Centre collected around double the tax amount than the states in the form of excise duty on petrol and diesel and the major relief should also come from the government of India.
The state VAT is linked to the Centre’s excise duty and when the government of India reduces the excise duty, the taxes will also come down, Vallabh said.
The petrol and diesel prices are touching the Rs-100 mark in many parts of the country, while the price of petrol has crossed that mark in some cities.