Congress to launch nationwide protest against fuel prices

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He said that the ruling BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi in the past 3 years has increased the central excise duty 11 times. Party member Dr Arun Mitra said it was crude joke for the country that despite the fall in the crude oil prices in the worldwide market, the government continued to fleece the citizens.

Maken said that considering the fall in crude oil prices in the worldwide market, the prices of petrol and diesel should be Rs 34 and Rs 32, respectively.

Amid the recent hike in the prices of petrol and diesel being attributed to wavering market price of crude oil, the ASSOCHAM, while dismissing the same, stated that even though the pricing regime is linked to market-determined rates, a sharp hike in taxes in the form of excise and sales tax or VAT by the Centre and the states distorted the path of reforms. He claimed that for every Rs 100 of petrol, the government is getting Rs 51.78 in taxes.

Maken said the Congress demands immediate course correction of petrol and diesel prices by withdrawing the massive central excise duties and other taxes which have burdened the common people of the country and only flooded the coffers of the BJP government.

Accusing the BJP government of "looting" the common people and "profiteering" at their expense, Congress's senior spokesperson Ajay Maken said the party would continue its fight "until this draconian taxation regime is withdrawn".

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The Congress leader then said the prices of petrol and diesel have risen so sharply that the lives of the common people in financial terms were considerably affected and the government was silent on it. "While global crude oil prices have come down by more than 52 per cent since the Narendra Modi government came to power, petrol prices have touched a three-year high. The government has earned a windfall of around Rs 2.5 lakh crore due to reduction in crude oil prices", Maken added.

An 18 per cent hike in the price of crude oil, from United States dollars 45.60 per barrel has taken the pump prices of petrol in Delhi (for instance) to Rs 70.39 per litre from Rs 65.40 three months ago.

"This is being done when the global prices of gas have gone down by 35 per cent in three years", he said. "Kerosene prices have recorded a double-digit increase throughout this fiscal", Maken added.

Maken also hit out at the government for inflation which recorded a five-month high with Retail Inflation (CPI) rising to 3.36 per cent in August from a year earlier. This means food items like fruits and vegetables have become costlier, thus ruining our household budgets.

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