Senior Congress Leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has termed the Modi government “anti-consumer” over record-high fuel prices and asked the government to bring them under the ambit of GST to provide relief to consumers.
In a series of tweets, the Congress leader also criticised the Centre over ONGC’s acquisition of the government’s stake in HPCL, saying it will have an impact on the fiscal deficit.
“Petrol and diesel prices have hit the roof. Govt continues to squeeze the consumers. Absolutely anti-consumer,” the former Finance Minister tweeted.
3. Petrol and Diesel prices have hit the roof. Govt continues to squeeze the consumers. Absolutely anti-consumer.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) January 21, 2018
Chidambaram accused the government of squandering the windfall gains, reaped through “massive taxation” on petrol and diesel, in “wasteful expenditure”.
He wondered why the BJP was not providing relief to consumers by bringing these two petroleum products under GST.
Diesel prices have touched a record high of Rs 61.74 per litre and petrol prices have crossed Rs 71.18 per litre in Delhi as international oil rates continue to rally.
Expressing concern of overshooting the fiscal-deficit target, Chidambaram said: “Govt cuts borrowing by Rs 30,000 crore, but ONGC will borrow Rs 30,000 crore to pay govt for HPCL shares. It has the same effect.”
State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation on Saturday announced the acquisition of government’s entire 51.11 percent stake in oil refiner HPCL for Rs 36,915 crore, paying a premium of over 10 percent.
Analysts and the market will add Rs 30,000 crore to the fiscal deficit, he added in another tweet.
According to various media reports, Petrol price in Mumbai surged to Rs 80.10 per litre on Monday followed by Kolkata which saw second highest rate of petrol among metro cities.
In Kolkata, price of petrol rose to Rs 74.94 on Monday. In Delhi, after the daily revision, the fuel costs lesser than what it takes to purchase the fuel in three other metro cities.
According to the Indian Oil website, the price of petrol in Mumbai on Sunday was Rs 79.95 and that in Delhi was Rs 72.08 per litre. In Kolkata, petrol cost Rs 74.79 on Sunday and in Chennai the price was 74.75 on the same day.