Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the Centre decided to increase excise duty on petrol and diesel. The former Congress chief’s criticism came on the day petrol prices were reduced by 12 paise and diesel by 14 paise per litre, a day after special excise duty on the fuel was increased.
“Just three days ago I had requested [the] Prime Minister of India to pass on the benefit of the global oil price crash to Indian consumers, by slashing the prices of petrol and diesel in India,” Gandhi tweeted. “Instead of heeding this advice, our genius has gone and hiked excise duty on fuel!”
Along with the tweet, Gandhi posted a video of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman avoiding a question on whether the benefits of reduced crude oil prices will be passed on to customers. The video was from Sitharaman’s press conference on Friday.
On Sunday, petrol in Delhi cost Rs 69.75 per litre while diesel prices dropped to Rs 62.44, according to a notification of state-owned oil firms. The reduction in prices would have been more had the Centre not hiked excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 3 per litre.
On Saturday, the government had increased the special excise duty on petrol from Rs 2 per litre to Rs 8 per litre, and on diesel from Rs 2 per litre to Rs 4 per litre. The taxes on petrol and diesel contribute to over a third of retail fuel prices, and has been one of the biggest sources of income for the government.
Meanwhile, oil prices worldwide posted their biggest week of losses since the 2008 global financial crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic, and amid efforts by top exporter Saudi Arabia and its allies to flood the market with record levels of supply.