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Roll back petrol, diesel prices to Aug 2004 level, bring it under GST: Anees

Roll back petrol, diesel prices to Aug 2004 level, bring it under GST: Anees

Nagpur, Jun 16 (UNI) Supporting the stand taken by Congress president Sonia Gandhi against central government's decision to increase fuel prices during the Covid-19 crisis, the former Cabinet Minister Dr Anees Ahmed hike is wholly "insensitive and ill-advised".

Mr Ahmed said it is a parodox that on the one hand the government wants its citizens to be “Atma Nirbhar” and on the other hand affecting them with unwarranted expenses.

The former minister called for the government to bring the fuels under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and also urged it to pass the benefit of lower crude prices to the people.

He further demanded the Narendra Modi-led BJP government to reduce the prices of petrol, diesel and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) to August 2004 level.

Whereas the current crude oil prices at about $40 is similar to August 2004 level, yet consumers are paying a heavier bill, he said adding that in August 2004, petrol was Rs 36.81 per litre, diesel Rs 24.16 and LPG Rs 261.60 per cylinder but currently in Nagpur city, petrol is being sold at Rs 83.33 per litre, diesel at Rs 72.65 per litre and LPG at Rs 780 per cylinder.

From 7th June till 15th June, for straight consecutive nine days prices have been hiked up which is indeed shocking. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah must immediately rollback the excise duty hike of Rs 23.78 on petrol and Rs 28.37 on diesel," he demanded.

Slamming the central government over the hike in fuel prices, Mr Anees said, "Today 130 crore Indians are battling with the coronavirus pandemic. The poor, migrant workers, shopkeepers, farmers, small and medium businesses and those who have lost their jobs are struggling to survive the economic ruin unleashed by the Modi government. "But instead of reducing their burden, the draconian and anti-people BJP government is fleecing the people by not just raising fuel rates on daily basis but also refusing to share benefits of lower crude with people," he said.

The Congress leader said that the petrol and diesel prices have been hiked by Rs 4.52 per litre and Rs 4.64 per litre respectively during the last nine days despite crude oil prices being benign. He said, it is a matter of record that excise duty on petrol was Rs 9.20 per litre and Rs 3.46 per litre on diesel in May 2014 when Modi government assumed office.

"In the last six years, the excise duty on petrol and diesel have been increased on petrol by an additional Rs 23.78 per litre and on diesel by an additional Rs 28.37. This translates into a 258 percent increase in excise on petrol and 820 percent hike in excise duty on diesel," he said.

He also pointed out that between financial year 2014-15 to 2019-20, the Modi government has hiked taxes on petrol and diesel 12 times and has collected a whopping Rs 17,80,056 crore in just the last six years. Mr Ahmed questioned policy of Indian government, when international price of Crude is now cheaper than water, why is the government not reducing the price of petrol and diesel.

The 12 hikes in excise duty by the Modi government since May 2014 on petroleum products should be withdrawn immediately until it is brought under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, he demanded.

UNI PK PS 1655

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