Government ‘profiteering’ from reduced price of crude: Congress

New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) Congress on Monday accused the government of “profiteering” from the reduced price of crude, demanding the reduction in prices should be passed to the common man.

International prices of crude oil have fallen to an unprecedented low level of $36 per barrel which is lowest in 11 years equivalent to year 2004 crude oil prices, but “regrettably, the (Narendra) Modi government is indulging in profiteering by imposing unprecedented taxes in shape of excise and customs on crude oil,” Congress’ communications department in charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a statement.

Noting the common man is already overburdened by unprecedented increase in prices of food products, imposition of additional service tax and Swachh Bharat cess, he claimed that “instead of giving relief to people of India on account of reduction in international crude prices”, the government earned a tax revenue of Rs.74,000 crore from petroleum products alone in 2014-15.

Surjewala said that the government has kept a tax collection target of Rs.1,10,000 crore from sale of petroleum products in 2015-16.

“BJP government that was elected on the promise of ‘aachhe din’ is actually taking away the lion’s share from the pocket of common man,” he said, noting that when Modi took over as prime minister, international price of crude oil was $108.05 per barrel and it has now fallen to $36.

“Refinery price of petrol today is only Rs.23.70 per litre while petrol is sold at Rs.60.48 per litre (price in Delhi). Modi government is thus earning a profit of Rs.36.71 for every litre of petrol,” Surjewala said.

Refinery price of diesel is only Rs.24.67 per litre while the market price is Rs.46.55 per litre (in Delhi), he said.

“Modi government is making a profit of Rs.21.88 per litre. What is most startling is the fact while oil refinery earlier paid a price of Rs.6,331 per barrel, this has come down to Rs.2,726 today,” he said, adding that the profit was being pocketed by the government instead of been passed on as relief.

Surjewala demanded the BJP government should pass on the benefit of unprecedented reduction in international prices of petroleum products to common man.

“People of India should not be burdened with taxes on petroleum products to the tune of Rs.1,10,000 crore per year,” he said, noting once prices of petroleum products are reduced, it will automatically lead to reduction in prices of food products.

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