It is an irony that when the price of crude oil is going down every day, the prices of petroleum products are increasing in India. It is a fact that the price of crude oil has declined about 85% since last year. But instead of passing this benefit to the general public, the Modi government has increased the excise duty to the tune of 125%. This excise duty hike and the decision of the government to allow the oil companies to raise the prices of petrol and diesel everyday causes steep hike in all the essential commodities as the fuel price hike has cascading effects.
When Modi came into power in 2014, the crude oil price were hovering around $100 per barrel and the then domestic price of petrol was around Rs 65/- per litre. Now the global crude prices are less than $50 per barrel. But the domestic price of petrol has reached Rs.75 per litre and that of diesel around Rs.65 per litre. In Asia, India has the highest rate of petrol and diesel prices. For instance, in Pakistan, a litre petrol costs only Rs45 while in Malaysia, only Rs.36. It was only Rs.9.20 was the central excise duty on petrol in 2014 and that of diesel was Rs. 3.46. But during these three year period of Modi, the excise duty on petrol has raised to Rs.22 and to Rs.17.4 for a litre diesel.
It is ridiculous that the Petroleum Minister and the IT & Tourism Minister openly said that the increased revenue from higher taxes and duties on petrol and diesel was only going into welfare activities for the poor including roads, toilets, housing etc. The IT minister further said that those who can afford to own car and bikes can also afford to pay higher prices for fuel. These statements are nothing but open challenges to the common sense of the people. Not only the petrol and diesel, the government is also robbing crores of LPG consumers in the country by increasing the prices of even the subsidized LPG cylinder in the past three years, combined with double digit growth in kerosene prices.
The All India Forward Bloc urges upon the government to withdraw the hike of fuel prices and to share the benefit of low crude oil price with the consumers.