Centre sitting on Rs 25 lakh cr fuel tax; petroleum price to dominate Parliament session: Congress

Stating that the issue of inflation and the rise in fuel prices will dominate the Parliament session beginning July 19, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday alleged the Centre had collected Rs 25 lakh crore through fuel tax but it is neither using this fund for the welfare of people nor giving it to state governments.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said the Narendra Modi government had made the lives of ordinary people “miserable” in the last seven years.

”Prices of fuel, LPG, edible oil are at an all-time high. The Centre has collected Rs 25 lakh crore as tax on fuel but it is not being used for people’s welfare or being given to state governments,” Kharge alleged.

He said the Modi government had raised prices of fuel “326 times including 38 times in the last two months”.

“The Central tax on fuel during the UPA rule was Rs 9.48 (per litre) which is now Rs 32.90 (per litre). During the tenure of the UPA, the rate of crude oil was Rs 111 per barrel and the petrol price was Rs 71 (per litre). Contrary to this, when the rate of crude oil is 44 USD per barrel the price of petrol is Rs 107 per litre now,” he said.

He said while the Union government has “collected Rs 25 lakh crore in the fuel tax” and the rate of LPG cylinder has reached Rs 834 the subsidy has also been withdrawn.

“The prime minister had said direct benefit transfer (DBT) would ensure savings of Rs 15,000 crore, which means the government has saved almost Rs one lakh crore this way. But the Modi government is not using this money for the welfare of people and also not providing it to state governments,” Kharge said.

He said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had suggested that Rs 6,000 be transferred in bank accounts of the poor, but that idea was rubbished.

“During the UPA rule, 27.1 per cent people were lifted above the below poverty line whereas 23 crore people were below the poverty line (BPL) as of last year. Due to the wrong policies of the Modi government, the income of 97 per cent of families had reduced,” Kharge said.

He said 1.33 lakh people lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic while the per capita income fell by Rs 10,000 and GDP dipped by 9 to10 per cent.

Kharge said Maharashtra is yet to receive Rs 32,000 crore in GST refund from the Centre.

The Congress is one of the ruling constituents in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government comprising the Shiv Sena and the NCP.

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