The Congress strike back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his attack on the opposition-ruled states for not reducing Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel on Wednesday, saying the excise duty during UPA government was much lower than what it is under the Modi regime and asked the PM Modi to roll back the hike.
Randeep Singh Surjewala also alleged that the Modi government has earned as much as Rs 27 lakh crore from taxes on petrol and diesel and demanded an account of the money.
"Modiji, no criticism, no distractions, no Jumlas! Excise Duty during Congress Government - Petrol - Rs 9.48/litre and Diesel - Rs 3.56/litre. Modi Government - Petrol - Rs 27.90/litre and Diesel - Rs 21.80/litre. Please roll back the excise hike of Rs 18.42 in Petrol and Rs 18.24 per litre in Diesel," Randeep Singh Surjewala said on Twitter.
2/n— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) April 27, 2022
Pl give an account of ₹27,00,00,00,00,00,00 (₹27 Lakh Crore) collected by BJP Govt from Tax on Petrol & Diesel 👇 pic.twitter.com/ZWFveoejRC
The party will urge the states to decrease VAT on fuel to pre-May 2014 level, but the centre must also admit that it earned Rs 27 lakh crore in earnings from petrol and diesel, against Rs 16.5 lakh crore earned collectively by states, he said.
"The central government revenue from petrol/diesel has doubled in 8 years," Surjewala said.
The Congress leader said that on May 26, 2014, when Prime Minister Modi assumed charge, the crude oil was US $108, but petrol and diesel was at Rs 71.41 and Rs 55.49 per litre.
“But today, crude oil is US $100.20 per barrel, but the petrol/diesel prices have been increased to Rs 105.41/litre and Rs 96.67/litre in Delhi,” he said.
Union minister Anurag Thakur parried the Congress’ attack asking the party why it was depriving people of benefits of lower petrol and diesel prices. He said that the BJP-ruled states reduced VAT on petrol and diesel few months back, whereas the governments ruled by opposition parties still have not done it.
BJP-ruled states reduced the taxes, and Karnataka lost Rs 5,000 crore, Gujarat lost 4,000, and many other states lost taxes worth crores of rupees, but people there benefitted from lower petrol and diesel rates, he said.
"But, the opposition parties are looking only at the Centre and have not reduced taxes in states ruled by them. What is the reason? Do they not want to benefit people of their states who have brought them to power?" he asked.
"We urge them to cut down the taxes so that the common people benefit from lower petrol and diesel rates," Thakur said.
Earlier in the day, Modi pointed out that some states did not reduce VAT on petrol and diesel despite the cut in excise duty by the Centre last November. He said the states had done "injustice" to the people by not transferring the benefits of the cut to them.
Speaking at an interaction with chief ministers on the emergent COVID-19 situation in the country, Modi said he wanted to flag the challenges being faced by the people due to the war.
"The situation of war which has arisen, has affected the supply chain, and in such an environment, the challenges are increasing day by day," Modi said in an apparent reference to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
"This global crisis is bringing many challenges. In such a situation, it has become imperative to further enhance the spirit of cooperative federalism and coordination between the Centre and states," he said.
(with inputs from PTI)