Congress trains oil price gun at Centre
Diesel was sold in 2004 for Rs 22.74 a litre when crude oil was hovering around $35 a barrel, almost the same as it is today. But diesel is being sold for around Rs 64 a litre in Delhi now. In 2004, oil prices were administered.
Reeling out comparative figures, the Congress on Saturday accused the Narendra Modi government of profiteering by burdening the common man. It demanded that the benefit of the drastic fall in the price of international crude oil be passed on to the consumer by slashing prices of petroleum products at least by 40 per cent.
Party spokesperson Ajay Maken said: “The government today hiked excise duty on petrol and diesel by a steep Rs 3 per litre to garner about Rs 39,000 crore additional revenue instead of passing on gains arising from the slump in international oil prices.
“With this, the excise duty on petrol has risen to Rs 22.98 per litre and on diesel to Rs 18.83 per litre. The tax on petrol was Rs 9.48 per litre when the Modi government took office in 2014 and that on diesel was Rs 3.56 a litre.”
Maken alleged that the government was pocketing lakhs of crores by not passing on the benefits of the fall in global crude oil prices.
“For the last six years, the government and oil marketing companies have been making huge windfall gains amounting to lakhs of crores per year. The Modi government has collected more than Rs 16 lakh crore in the last five years by charging exorbitant taxes on petrol-diesel. Adding the present profit of Rs 3.4 lakh crore, the government in total would have made a profit of Rs 20 lakh crore,” he said.
Maken added: “The Congress has three demands: The rates of petrol-diesel-LPG cylinder be reduced by at least 35-40 per cent. Petrol and diesel should be brought under GST. The hike in excise duty/customs duty imposed by the government since May 2014 on petroleum products should be withdrawn immediately until it is brought under the GST regime.”
Giving details of rates in the past, Maken said: “In June-July 2004 when crude was around 35 dollar per barrel, petrol was sold at Rs 35.71 per litre, diesel Rs 22.74 and LPG for Rs 281.60 per cylinder in Delhi.
“Central excise duty has been hiked more than a dozen times since the BJP came to power. Excise duty has been increased by 149.78 per cent on petrol and 444.22 per cent on diesel since May 2014. Excise duty on petrol and diesel was Rs 9.2 per litre and Rs 3.46 per litre in May 2014, which has been increased to Rs 22.98 and Rs 18.83 per litre respectively.”
The Congress leader said: “The cost of a 14.2 kg non-subsidised LPG cylinder in May 2014 was Rs 412. Today it costs Rs 858. The price of subsidised gas cylinder has gone up from Rs 412 per cylinder (May 2014) to Rs 570 per cylinder.”
“If a young man buys 10 litres of petrol for his motorcycle, he pays Rs 343 extra to the government in the form of excise duty. If he needs 40 litres for his bike in a month, he has to pay out Rs 1,372 extra…. Isn’t this looting the citizens?” he asked.