NEW DELHI: The Congress on Saturday demanded the withdrawal of all taxes on petrol and diesel imposed during the past year, and said the government must not stop the free rations scheme before March 2022.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said the government, in the name of Covid, had increased the price of petrol by Rs 13 a litre and diesel by Rs 16 a litre by way of central taxes, and the same should be withdrawn immediately as GST collections were record high.
“The government has been patting its back and boasting about record GST collection of pre-Covid times. You used Covid as an excuse to increase the price of petrol and diesel. Please withdraw that immediately now that Covid is over and GST collections have gone back to normal,” he told reporters.
“We also demand that the Garib Kalyan Yojna, under which foodgrains are distributed to the poorest of the poor, should not be stopped in November. This should continue till March 31, 2022 as we have all seen India’s position on the latest hunger index,” Khera said.
India ranked 101 in the Global Hunger Index 2021, down from 94 in the previous year.
Asked about reduction of VAT rates on fuel in Congress-ruled states, Khera said a discussion was on and a decision would soon be taken.
He, however, said the BJP and its allies have 27 states, while the Congress has three, but the major rise in petrol and diesel is due to central excise.
“Congress-ruled states are discussing the issue and a decision will be taken soon,” Khera added.
The central government reduced excise duty on petrol by Rs 5 and on diesel by Rs 10, and some BJP-ruled states have reduced VAT on the fuels this week.
The Congress has said that the BJP governments have done so following the results of bypolls in which the BJP did not fare very well.
Khera said the BJP government must withdraw further taxes on petrol and diesel soon, claiming that it may face even worse results in the upcoming elections due to public anger.

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