The Congress on Saturday slammed the PM Modi-led BJP government over the hike in excise duty of petrol and diesel and demanded that the benefit of reduced international crude oil prices should be passed on to the people by reducing the rates of petroleum products by at least 35-40 per cent.
Speaking at a press conference, Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken said that by hiking the excise duty on petrol and diesel, the government garners about Rs 39,000 crore additional revenue, as it does not pass on the benefits received from lowered international oil prices.
The former Union Minister added that with this, the total rate of excise duty on petrol has risen to Rs 22.98 per litre and that on diesel to Rs 18.83 per litre. Comparing the present rates to those during the UPA government, the Congress leader said the tax on petrol was Rs 9.48 per litre and that on diesel was Rs 3.56 a litre when the Modi government took office in 2014.
Ajay Maken complained that the Central excise duty has been hiked more than a dozen times since BJP came to power in 2014. Giving a breakdown of the prices, he said the excise duty has been hiked by 149.78 per cent on petrol and 444.22 per cent since May 2014.
The Congress leader also said that the 'monstrous' taxes levied by the Modi government have led to in soaring prices of petrol and diesel, which is the major cause of rising transportation costs, resulting in inflation.
Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Ajay Maken said that the Modi-Shah government should pass on the benefits of low crude oil price to the people of India by lowering petrol/diesel/LPG rates.
Citing that the international crude oil prices have been reduced, Ajay Maken said even though crude oil prices have gone down since the last 15 years, yet petrol and diesel prices are on the rise in India. He said the common people, the middle class, the farmers, the transporters, and small and medium businesses are affected as a result of high petrol rates.
The Congress leader accused the BJP government of looting over Rs 16 lakh crore in the last five years by imposing excessive taxes on petrol-diesel. "Adding the present 3.4 lakh crores, the BJP government in total would have made a profit of Rs 20 lakh crore," he claimed.
(with inputs from PTI)