The government will perpetrate a great “fraud” on the people by allowing oil companies to go ahead with a hike in fuel prices, Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Sitaram Yechury said on Tuesday.
Pointing out that all the oil companies, as per their recent declarations, had posted profits, he said, “Together, they have a cash reserve of Rs. 1 lakh crore. They are hardly in the red as they claim.”
Speaking at the inauguration of the ninth all India conference of the Democratic Youth Federation of India here, Mr. Yechury challenged the government claim that a hike in fuel prices was the only way to control the rising fiscal deficit of 6.9 per cent (Rs. 5.21 lakh crore).
“The government has given large corporations tax exemptions of Rs. 5.28 lakh crore. The exchequer has lost Rs. 1.76 lakh crore in the 2G scam. Another Rs. 1.86 lakh crore has been lost in the coal allocation scam.” All this money could have arrested fiscal deficit.”
The money lost through scams and subsidies to the rich would lead to acute gaps in delivery of healthcare, education and food security.
“If every child in the country was sent to school with uniforms, books and a midday meal, it would cost Rs. 1.76 lakh crore. If every Indian household is given 35 kilos of foodgrains a month (at the subsidised rate of Rs. 2 per kg), it would cost Rs. 1.2 lakh crore.”
Launching a no holds-barred attack on Manmohan Singh, Mr. Yechury said Coalgate had seriously undermined the legitimacy of the office of Prime Minister.
“The rate at which ministers are being caught in the scams, Mr. Singh might have to convene the next Cabinet meeting in the Tihar jail,” he said.