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'Economically anti-national' to fleece Indians by raising petrol & diesel prices: Congress


New Delhi, May 06: The Congress on Wednesday said it is "economically anti-national" to fleece Indians of Rs 1.4 lakh crore by raising taxes on petrol and diesel, and urged the Centre to share 75 per cent of this revenue with states so that people are not burdened.

Rahul Gandhi

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said when the entire country is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and its poor, including migrants, shopkeepers and small businessmen, were virtually penniless, the government of India was "fleecing" 130 crore Indians by insurmountably raising prices of petrol and diesel.

"To fleece people of India in this fashion is economically anti-national," he told reporters at a press conference through video conferencing.

Surjewala alleged that the manner in which "illegally and forcibly" this recovery is being made is "inhumane, cruel and insensitive".

"The government should transfer 75 per cent of this money so collected through raise in taxes to states. This will ensure there is no further burden on people of India, by way of more taxes on petroleum products by states," he said.

He said the issue was discussed at a meeting of the chief ministers of Congress-ruled states with party president Sonia Gandhi, where everyone besides former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed deep concerns.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said when the fight against COVID-19 is causing economic hardship to all, the government instead of reducing prices has raised them.

He demanded immediate rollback of the increased prices on the fuels.

"The ongoing battle with the coronavirus is causing severe economic hardship for our crores of brothers and sisters. At this time, instead of reducing prices, the decision of the government to raise prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 10-13 per litre is unfair and should be withdrawn," he said in a tweet in Hindi.

His remarks come after the central government hiked excise duty and cess on petrol by Rs 10 per litre and on diesel by Rs 13 a litre.

Retail prices of petrol and diesel have, however, not been impacted by the rise in excise duty and cess as oil companies will adjust them against the recent fall in international crude oil prices.

Petrol prices in the national capital were hiked by Rs 1.67 a litre and diesel by a steep Rs 7.10 per litre after the Delhi government raised local sales tax or value-added tax (VAT) on the two fuels.

Petrol in Delhi now costs Rs 71.26 a litre as against Rs 69.59 previously, oil industry sources said. Diesel price has been hiked to Rs 69.39 per litre from Rs 62.29.

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