New Delhi: Making a scathing attack on the BJP-led Central government, the Congress on Tuesday questioned the constant rise in petrol and diesel prices, and demanded they be brought under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) ambit. It also asked the Central government to immediately reduce the central excise duty on petroleum products and demanded that the BJP-ruled state governments should also reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) and other taxes on the same to provide relief to the common man.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera told reporters here that there has been an increase of around 212 per cent in excise duty on petrol and 433 per cent on diesel since the BJP came to power in May 2014, while central excise duty had been hiked 12 times. “Post May 26, 2014, international crude oil prices have come down by more than 30 per cent. (Narendra) Modi government earned a windfall of Rs 9.95 lakh crore by levying central taxes on petrol and diesel till December 2017. It is over Rs 10 lakh crore now. Where has the money gone?”
“As soon as Karnataka elections were over, the government revealed its true colours as the daily fuel price hike resumed,” he said. “Our major demand is to bring fuel prices under GST which would imply uniform taxation and simple procedural compliance,” he added. Khera questioned why fuel prices in India were so high compared to neighbouring countries.
“Petrol and diesel in India are available in the range of Rs 76-86 and Rs 68-75 respectively, while the prices of petrol and diesel were Rs 50.67 and Rs 57.06 respectively in Pakistan, Rs 49.67 and Rs 40.44 in Sri Lanka, Rs 66.69 amd Rs 54.73 in Nepal, and Rs 68.47 and Rs 51.73 per litre in Bangladesh respectively,” he noted. “The Narendra Modi government has betrayed the trust that common people had bestowed on it. It has miserably failed to curtail the rise in fuel prices and is busy filling the treasury coffers at the expense of the ordinary citizens,” he added.
Prices of transportation fuel have been rising on the back of the recent surge in global crude oil prices and high excise duty in the country. On Tuesday, Brent crude oil was priced over $79 per barrel. In Delhi and Mumbai, petrol was sold at Rs 76.87 and Rs 84.70 per litre repectively on Tuesday while in Kolkata, the price was at a near-five year high of Rs 79.53 per litre. In Chennai, petrol prices touched a record high at Rs 79.79 per litre.
Diesel prices have also reached unprecedented levels setting new records across the country. In Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, diesel was sold at Rs 68.08, Rs 70.63, Rs 72.48 and Rs 71.87 per litre, respectively.