Comparing the fuel price control mechanism that was in place during the UPA under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with the current ‘chaotic’ situation under Narendra Modi, Congress leader and former Minister Basavaraj Rayaraddi said the skyrocketing prices of petroleum products were neither the result of crude oil price fluctuations in the international market nor the COVID-19 pandemic but the unscientific taxation policy of the Centre.
“Crude oil price in the international market had fallen from $112 a barrel in 2014 to $62 a barrel now. The fuel prices in the domestic market were supposed to fall as a result. But, they are skyrocketing because of the Modi government’s unscientific taxation policy. Petroleum products are kept not under GST but under excise duty and VAT. The excise duty for a litre of petrol has risen from ₹9.48 a litre during the UPA regime to ₹32.90 a litre in the NDA regime. The excise duty for diesel has risen from ₹3.56 a litre to ₹31.81 a litre in the same period. The State VAT for a litre of petrol has risen from ₹18 in the Siddaramaiah government in the State to ₹26 in the B.S. Yediyurappa government. The exorbitant rise of taxes is the primary reason for the skyrocketing fuel prices in the domestic market despite a steep fall of crude oil prices in the international market. If the taxation is rationalised, the fuel prices would automatically come down. But the Modi government is not ready to do it as it had vested interests to serve,” Mr. Rayaraddi said at a press conference in Kalaburagi on Monday.
Referring to the 55 lakh metric tonnes of crude oil stocked at the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL) facilities, he questioned why the government was not releasing the stock despite the oil prices are touching the sky. Visionary Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had started the ISPRL in 2005 to maintain the crude oil stock and I can’t understand why the Modi government is not using it even after the oil prices are rising, he added.
“As BJP had no enough experience of administration and knowledge to run the country, the economy has collapsed under them in the last seven-year,” he added.
Congress leaders Priyank Kharge, Ajay Singh, B.R. Patil and others were present.
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