‘Not Justified’: Sonia Gandhi Writes to PM Modi on Fuel Price Hike

“Govt doing nothing short of profiteering off its people when they are down & out,” reads part of the letter.

2 min read
Sonia Gandhi and Narendra Modi.

Indian National Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday, 16 June, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the recent hike in prices of petrol and diesel.

“As it is, people across the board are facing unimaginable hardships, what to say of widespread fear and insecurity. These price increases are saddling our people with an additional burden of this enormous magnitude that is neither justified nor appropriate. It is the duty and responsibility of the government to alleviate suffering, not put the people to still greater hardship,” read part of the letter.

The government is doing nothing short of profiteering off its people when they are down and out, she added.

For the seventh day in a row on 13 June, fuel prices were increased.

The petrol price in Delhi was hiked to Rs 75.16 per litre from Rs 74.57 per litre, while diesel rates were increased to Rs 73.39 a litre from Rs 72.81 per litre. In seven hikes, petrol prices have gone up by Rs 3.9 per litre and those of diesel by Rs 4 per litre. Rates have been increased across the country and vary from state to state depending on the incidence of local sales tax or VAT.

‘Wholly Insensitive Decision’

The letter went on to state that there was no logic to the price hike coming in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic that had deprived millions of people of jobs and livelihoods and devastated businesses.

“Given that the international price of crude oil has fallen by approximate 9% over the last week (coming after a collapse of crude oil prices over the last few months), the government is doing nothing short of profiteering off its people-when they are down and out,” the letter said.

Stating that despite historically low oil prices over the last 6 years, the government had managed to massively enrich its revenue on 12 occasions.

“This translates into a 258% increase in excise on petrol and 820% hike in excise duty on diesel yielding in these six years a staggering Rs 18,00,000 crore from excise collection on petrol and diesel alone. If ever there was ever a time to deploy these resources in the service of the people, it is now,” he said.

Gandhi urged the PM to roll back the hikes and pass on the benefit of low oil prices directly to the citizens of the country. “If you wish them to be ‘self-reliant’, then do not place financial fetters on their ability to move forward.”

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