The Congress on Sunday demanded immediate relief for middle and lower-income group families by reducing petrol and diesel by at least Rs 15 per litre and cooking gas prices by at least Rs 150 per cylinder.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh asked why the consumers had to bear the brunt of high fuel prices when crude oil prices were at a seven-month low and inflation was above RBI’s upper band of six per cent for the last seven months.
“Why is the relief not being passed on to the consumers when the burden of high crude prices is always passed on,” he asked.
“Petrol and diesel prices are regulated by election dates and not global rates,” he said, alleging that when elections near, the government reduces the prices or puts them on freeze, and when they are over, they raise the prices.
“What are the excuses by the Modi government for not passing the relief on decreasing LPG prices to the consumers? Does the Modi government only believe in passing on the burden to the consumers,” the Congress leader asked.
He said retail inflation, GDP growth, and a depreciating rupee are some of the examples that paint a worrying picture of how the economy is being managed.
“The current BJP government is creating new lows with more data points released by its own government. The middle and lower-income groups suffer the most due to the callousness and incompetence of the government.
“The consistently high retail inflation is one of the most concerning areas that need immediate government intervention,” Mr Vallabh said.
He alleged that the government has been primarily the most inconsiderate towards the fuel prices.
“Since they have a cascading effect across all economic activities, the government’s inactions speak of its cluelessness and misguided focus.
“The prices of crude oil have been consistently on a downward spiral for the last few months and are at a seven-month low. But the prices of Petrol and Diesel in our country don’t seem to reflect this trend, even after deregulation, which means that the prices of petrol and diesel should change as per global prices,” he said.
Citing data from the Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC, Government of India), he said crude oil Indian basket as on September 8, 2022, was $88 per barrel, which was $116 in June this year.
He said after elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, the petrol and diesel prices were increased nine times in 10 days between March 22 and March 31, 2022
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