CPIM slams govt over hike in petrol prices

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New Delhi, Feb 18 (PTI) The CPI(M) on Thursday slammed the government over the hike in petrol prices and claimed that over the last six years the Modi government has hiked excise duties on petroleum products by '217 per cent'.

The Left party demanded an immediate rollback of the price hike on petrol.

For the first time ever, the price of petrol crossed the Rs 100 per litre mark in Rajasthan on Wednesday after fuel rates were hiked for the ninth day in a row.

Petrol and diesel prices were increased by 25 paise per litre each, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers. In Sriganganagar town of Rajasthan, petrol price soared to Rs 100.13 a litre on Wednesday.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) in a statement said what is worse is that the hikes have come at a time when international oil prices have fallen with the base price for petrol being Rs 47.12 in 2014 to Rs 29.34 in 2021, which is nearly 50 per cent, 'The main reason for these escalating prices is the unbridled hike in the excise duties by the central government, which today is 38 per cent of the cost of petrol. The tax levied by the Centre increased by a whopping 217 per cent since this Modi government assumed office in 2014,' it said.

'These hikes in excise duties are clearly meant to offset the losses to government revenues due to the tax concessions provided to the corporates and income tax payees. There is a significant reduction in the corporate and income tax revenues from 6.81 and 6.38 lakh crores respectively last year – a reduction to 5.47 and 5.61 lakh crores respectively, as shown in the 2020-21 budget,' the party alleged.

The government's 'bonanza to the rich and its cronies' is sought to be made up by these excise duty hikes, the CPI(M) said.

'Further, the hikes in prices of petroleum products will result in higher transportation costs which will increase the prices of all essential commodities The cascading inflationary effect will further worsen the economic recession. The politburo of the CPI(M) calls upon all party units across the country to organise protest actions demanding that the Centre withdraw these excise duties,' it said. PTI ASG ANB ANB