Leader of the Haryana Congress Legislature Party, Kiran Choudhry, on Wednesday asked the Union government not to play the profiteer and sought roll-back of the hike in excise duty on petrol and diesel prices and pass on the benefit of the falling global prices of crude oil to the common man.
Choudhry said in a release that while fuel retailers had announced a Rs 2.42 per litre cut in the price of petrol and Rs 2.25 per litre in diesel, the Central government had notified Rs 2 a litre hike in basic excise duty on both. “But for this, the consumer would have got petrol and diesel cheaper by Rs 4.42 and Rs 4.25 a litre, respectively’’, she said.
Since June, 2014 when the price of crude oil ruled at $110 per barrel, the price of the Indian basket had follow to $43.6 per barrel, Choudhry said adding that though it worked out to a more than 60% fall, the decline in the prices of petro products in domestic market had not kept pace with fall in global prices.
Choudhry said this was the fourth hike in excise duty in less than three months, and second in the month of January.
“The previous hike came as a New Year gift to the consumers on January 1 when the basic excise duty on petrol and diesel was raised by `2 per litre for funding the infrastructure development programme. The first hike was made in November when excise was raised by Rs 1.50 per litre, followed by a second hike of Rs 2.25 per litre and Rs 1 per litre for petrol and diesel respectively, in December’’, she said.
“Put together, the four hikes would net the Central government additional revenue of Rs 20,000 crore in the current fiscal, enabling it to keep the fiscal deficit within the budget target of 4.1 % of GDP even though the revenues were falling,” Choudhry said.
“Instead of bringing the common man the oft-promised “achhe din’’, the Modi government is hitting them where it hurts most,” Choudhry.