Hike in excise duty on petrol and diesel; Congress slams government

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New Delhi [India], Mar 14 (ANI): The Congress on Saturday slammed the BJP-led government for hike in excise duty on petrol and diesel and accused it of indulging in profiteering at a time when international prices of crude oil were at an all-time low.

The party demanded that the benefit of reduced prices should be passed on to the people and petrol and diesel prices should be reduced by about 40 per cent. It also said that petroleum products should be brought under the GST. Addressing a press conference here, Congress leader Ajay Maken said the government has increased excise and duty on petrol and diesel by a steep Rs 3 per litre “to garner about Rs 39,000 crore.” He said there also has been an increase in on-road cess on petrol and diesel.

Maken said the government has earned a profit of Rs 3.4 lakh crore by not passing the benefits of reduced oil prices to consumers. He said that in dollar terms, the international crude oil prices were down to the level of June-July 2004 when the petrol, diesel and LPG were available at Rs 35.71 and Rs 22.74 respectively and cylinder was available at Rs 281.60.
“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 BJP government has looted more than Rs 16 lakh crore in the last five years by charging exorbitant taxes on petrol-diesel. Adding Rs 3.4 lakh crore, the BJP government in total would have made a profit of Rs 20 lakh crore,” said Maken.

He said the government must pass this benefit of low crude rates and immediately reduce prices of petrol, diesel and LPG and prices should be brought back to the level of June-July 2004 when crude was at around USD 35 USD per barrel.

Maken said the total excise duty on petrol has risen to Rs 22.98 per litre and that on diesel to Rs 18.83. “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. The central excise duty has been hiked more than a dozen times since BJP came to power. Excise duty has been increased by 149.78 per cent on petrol and 444.22 per cent on diesel by Modi Govt since May 2014 as excise duty on petrol and diesel was Rs 9.2 per litre and Rs 3.46 per litre in May 2014,” he said.
Accusing the government of “looting” people, he said the government has not brought petrol and diesel under GST.

“The benefit of reduced international crude oil prices should be forwarded to the people and the rates of petrol-diesel-LPG gas be reduced by at least 35-40 per cent. Petrol and diesel should be brought under the GST. The hike in excise duty, customs duty effected by the Modi government since May 2014 on petroleum products should be withdrawn until it is brought under the GST regime, Maken said.

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