New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Friday slammed the Modi government over high petrol prices, saying it has become clueless and floundering and is living off an oil bonanza.
In a series of tweets, the former finance minister said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) boasts that it is ruling 22 states but why does the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government refuses to bring petroleum and petroleum products under goods and services tax (GST). “For the last four years, the BJP government has lived off an oil bonanza. Minus the oil bonanza, the BJP government is clueless and floundering. Even a school child knows the answer. It is because of the ‘Tax the Consumer’ policy of the BJP government," he said.
Chidambaram said crude oil price at $74 per barrel are still lower than $105 four years ago. “So, why are Petrol/Diesel prices higher today than they were in May 2014?," he asked.
Petrol price has hit a four-year high of Rs73.83 a litre, while diesel rates touched an all-time high of Rs64.69 in the national capital on rising international oil rates. The BJP-led government had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs2 a litre.
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan last fortnight had said the GST Council—the apex decision making body of the new indirect tax regime—should in the “interest of energy security and consumers" include petroleum products in GST.
Petrol, diesel, natural gas, crude oil and jet fuel (ATF) are currently not included in the GST, which essentially leads to producers not being able to set-off tax paid on inputs from final tax on product.