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The Congress party continued to attack the Central government demanding that petrol and diesel be brought under Goods and Services Tax (GST) immediately after the fuel prices saw a rise for the tenth consecutive day. In the wake of the severe criticism, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has also nodded to the idea of the Opposition suggesting that GST Council should seriously ponder over it.
On Tuesday, petrol and diesel prices continued to witness the unprecedented rise. In Delhi, petrol was selling at Rs 79.31 per litre while the diesel was being sold at Rs 71.34 per litre. Among the top cities, Mumbai faces the maximum brunt of the surging fuel prices as a litre of petrol there cost Rs 86.72 and diesel costs Rs 75.74 a litre.
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram slammed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre for neglecting the historical rise in fuel prices and failing to implement any measures to contain the surge.
He said that the relentless rise in prices of petrol and diesel is not inevitable because the price is built up by excessive taxes on fuel. If taxes are cut, prices will decline significantly, the senior Congress leader added.
“Congress demands that petrol and diesel be brought under GST immediately,” he said.
He further lambasted the Centre for holding the states responsible for the high prices. Chidambaram stressed that BJP often boasts that it is ruling in 19 states, hence it should be easier for them to coordinate peacefully with the states and bring petrol and diesel under GST.
Earlier, taking cognizance of the meteoric rise in the fuel prices, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said that it is time that petroleum products fall under GST.
While speaking at a NewsX Conclave, Pradhan said, “Petroleum industry is suffering severely and it is high time that GST Council should seriously ponder over bringing petrol and diesel under GST.”
Petrol and diesel prices have seen a 13% and 19% rise respectively in Delhi in this calendar year. However, this is not new as the two petro products have previously witnessed an increase by 26.2% and 33.3% in 2002-03. But the experts believe that the current price surge is different from before.
Officials have suggested that the increase in petrol and diesel prices is down to mainly the falling exchange rate of rupee against the dollar. The rupee has already depreciated by over Rs 2.5 in August alone hitting an all-time low of 71.37 to the dollar.
Moreover, the price of crude oil has risen by $7 a barrel in the past two weeks due to the growing fears that the US sanctions on Iran might reduce the supplies.