Opposition seeks cut in fuel prices

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New Delhi, Mar 23 (PTI) Members of the Opposition on Tuesday said high prices of diesel, petrol and LPG are hurting the common man across the country and asked the government to reduce them.

Petrol and diesel prices hover at a historic high following a relentless increase in rates over the past nine months. There have been calls by opposition parties as well as sections of society to the government to reduce excise duty to ease consumer pain.

Participating in the debate on the Finance Bill 2021 in the Lok Sabha, Supriya Sule (NCP) said excise component in the prices of petrol is close to Rs 38 per litre while state value-added tax (VAT) is about Rs 19 per litre in Delhi.

The government should consider slashing this high excise duty, she said.

She urged the government to bring down prices of petrol, diesel and LPG cylinder.

Besides, Sule also raised concern over the pace of disinvestment and privatisation of profit-making public sector entities (PSEs).

She also asked the government to reconsider its decision to impose tax on subscribers' contribution over Rs 2.5 lakh Employee's Provident Fund (EPF) and Voluntary Provident Fund (VPF).

According to the provisions of the Finance Bill, from April 1, 2021 onwards, the interest on any contribution above Rs 2.5 lakh by an employee to a recognised provident fund is taxable.

Ritesh Pandey (BSP) too raised the issue of high prices of petrol and diesel 'burning a hole in pocket of the poor'.

'The government is imposing 48 per cent as excise... and the rising prices of petrol and diesel are hurting the poor very badly,' he said.

'Selling of PSUs and their privatisation will impact reservation policy for Dalits as private companies will not follow reservation policy. Privatisation is going to have a long term impact on poor and Dalits of the country,' he added.

Equalisation tax is going to make digital payment costly and the government should rethink about this, Pandey said.

Nama Nageswara Rao (TRS) too demanded that petrol and diesel prices be reduced.

Rao also urged the government to consider lowering the import duty on cotton.

The government raised the import duty on cotton from 10 per cent to 15 per cent in the Budget 2021-22. PTI DP DP CK CK