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Congress demands roll back of ‘Modi tax’ on fuel

Burning issue: Youth Congress activists protesting outside Union Minister Smriti Irani’s house in Delhi on Saturday.  

Terming the additional excise burden on fuel as “Modi Tax”, the Congress on Saturday renewed its campaign against the government, demanding an immediate roll back that would bring down the price of petrol to nearly ₹67 per litre and of diesel to ₹53 per litre, as per the party’s estimate.

At a press conference, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi lambasted the Modi government for confusing customers by attempting to shift the blame on the State governments. Finance Minister Nirmal Sitharaman has said that even if the Centre was to drop the excise and cess on fuel, there is no guarantee that the States will not further hike VAT or State taxes, making little difference to the end consumer.

“We demand the immediate withdrawal of “Modi Tax” of ₹23.87 and ₹28.37 per litre on petrol and diesel, which was increased by the Modi government since May 2014. I will like to emphasise that this has got nothing to do with VAT or State taxes, which the BJP tries to confuse the people. I repeat, this is not a favour, the people deserve relief in these hard pandemic times,” Mr. Singhvi said.

Mr. Singhvi said the Modi government has been the most “Mehngi Sarkaar” (expensive government), which has heavily taxed the public. “This arrogant government refuses to acknowledge people's problems or give any relief to the people. It only tries to 'Divide, Deceive, Dupe, Distract & Delude,” he added.

Also read: Withdraw ‘Modi tax’ on petroleum products immediately: Congress

Over the last six years and nine months, the government has earned over ₹21.5 lakh crore by imposing additional excise duty on petrol and diesel, he said.

Referring to market prices, Mr Singhvi said in May 2014, the international crude oil price was $108 per barrel and petrol was selling at ₹71.51 per litre in Delhi while diesel was selling at ₹57.28 per litre in Delhi. However, the international crude oil prices as on today, February 25, 2021 is $65.70 per barrel, but the price of petrol has increased to ₹91.17 per litre in Delhi whereas diesel is selling at ₹81.47 per litre in Delhi. “Let me point out, crude oil is 39.2% cheaper but surprisingly the petrol and diesel are 27.5% and 42.2% costlier,” the Congress leader said.

The price of a domestic gas cylinder has increased by ₹200 in the last three months.

“Over the last six years, the additional excise burden — “Modi Tax” on the common consumer has been increased by whopping ₹23.78 per litre on petrol and by ₹28.37 per litre on diesel which is 820% on diesel and 258% on petrol. This government earned over ₹21.5 lakh crore by imposing additional excise duties on petrol and diesel, but the govt has done away all the subsidies or under recoveries on petrol, diesel and LPG,” Mr. Singhvi said.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 2:25:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-demands-roll-back-of-modi-tax-on-fuel/article33949547.ece

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