Comparing the fuel price control mechanism that was in place during the PAU under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with the current “chaotic” situation under Narendra Modi, Congress leader and former Minister Basavaraj Rayaraddi said the price spike of petroleum products was neither the result of crude oil price fluctuations in the international market nor the COVID-19 pandemic but the Centre’s unscientific fiscal policy.
“The price of crude oil on the international market has gone from $ 112 per barrel in 2014 to $ 62 per barrel now. Fuel prices in the domestic market were expected to decline as a result. But, they are skyrocketing due to the Modi government’s unscientific tax policy. Petroleum products are not subject to GST but to excise duties and VAT. The excise tax on a liter of gasoline has been reduced from 9.48 yen per liter under the UPA regime to 32.90 yen per liter under the NDA regime. Excise duty on diesel fell from 3.56 yen per liter to 31.81 yen per liter during the same period. State VAT for a liter of gasoline has increased from 18 in the government of Siddaramaiah in the state to 26 in the government of BS Yediyurappa. The exorbitant rise in taxes is the main reason for soaring fuel prices in the domestic market despite a sharp drop in crude oil prices in the international market. If taxation were rationalized, fuel prices would fall automatically. But the Modi government is not ready to do it because it had interests to serve, ”Mr. Rayaraddi said at a press conference in Kalaburagi on Monday.
Referring to the 55 metric tonnes of crude oil stored at the facilities of Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL), he asked why the government was not releasing the stock as oil prices hit the sky. Visionary Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched ISPRL in 2005 to maintain the stock of crude oil and I do not understand why the Modi government does not use it even after the oil prices rise, he added.
“As the BJP did not have enough administrative and knowledge experience to run the country, the economy has collapsed under it for the past seven years,” he added.
Congress leaders Priyank Kharge, Ajay Singh, BR Patil and others were in attendance.