Rahul Gandhi attacks Centre over fuel price hike
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at the government on Tuesday morning over the increase in fuel taxes, asking whether the government is a “moneylender from old Bollywood movies.
The Congress MP from Wayanad, Kerala, tweeted in Hindi, “On one hand, we are instigating the public to take loans, on the other hand, we are earning indiscriminately from tax collection. Is it the government or the greedy moneylender of old Hindi films?”. He also used the hashtag #TaxExtortion.
He tagged his tweet with a news report which claimed that the government increased excise duty on petroleum products by 88%, resulting in ₹3.35 lakh crore in the government’s treasury.
Gandhi’s attack comes a day after minister of state in finance ministry Pankaj Choudhary informed the Parliament on Monday that ₹1.01 lakh crore was collected from excise duty on petrol in FY21, ₹2.33 lakh crore was collected from diesel and ₹1,195 crore from natural gas.
The Centre earned ₹3.36 lakh crore via central excise duty collected on petroleum, diesel and natural gas during the financial year 2020-21, as compared to ₹2.03 lakh crore in FY20.
The Centre had last year hiked the excise duty on petrol from ₹19.98 per litre to ₹32.9 to recoup the gain arising from international oil prices plunging to a multi-year low as the demand tanked due to the pandemic. The excise duty on diesel was raised to ₹31.8 from ₹15.83 per litre.
The minister of state also said that the Centre collected ₹94. 18 crore as excise duty on petrol and diesel during April-June 2021. The average share of central excise duty on petroleum products from 2017-18 to 2020-21 in gross revenue collected by the union was 12%.
Between April 1 and July 13, while petrol prices have been hiked 39 times, diesel prices have been hiked 36 times. The prices of petrol and diesel have crossed ₹100 per litre mark in many states including New Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Bihar, Punjab and Ladakh, leading to protests by Opposition parties.