NEW DELHI: The Congress party on Saturday upped its ante against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government over the inflation, and said that the victory of the BJP in recently-held elections has become a licence for loot.
The grand old party called the rising in inflation as BJP’s “new year gift” and frequent hikes in prices of petrol and diesel as “daily good morning gift” to people. “Today is the 10th increase in prices of petrol and diesel in last 12 days. The price of petrol and diesel has gone up by Rs 7.20 per litre across India,” he said.
Addressing a press conference here at party headquarters, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “This new year has brought inflation. Inflation has become a pain for people. The electoral victory of the BJP is a licence for loot.”
He said that inflation has burdened people with Rs 1,25,407 crore.
Hitting out at the Modi government, Surjewala said, “The diktat of the cruel, the cumbersome and the back-breaking price rise imposed by Modi government with effect from April 1 has shattered the budget of every household in India.”
He said that inflation is the biggest challenge to sustenance of every individual and it is attacking the lives and livelihood of every household. “But inflation is a daily event being celebrated to mock the people by the BJP and the Modi government,” the Congress leader said.
He further said that the Central government was seeking revenge against India’s farmers for their protest as prices of DAP bag of 50 kg had been increased by Rs 150 per bag, taking it from Rs 1200 to Rs 1350 per bag.
Surjewala said that India’s farmers consume 1.20 lakh crore tonnes DAP every year. The additional burden on farmer comes to Rs 3,600 crores.
He further said that price of NPKS bag of 50 kg has been increased by Rs 110 per bag, which now costs Rs 1400 for a bag.
The Congress leader said that as per government of India’s ‘Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell’, consumption of petrol in the year 2020-21 was 27,969 thousand metric tonnes.
“At a price increase of Rs 7.20 per litre the additional yearly burden on people comes to Rs 20,138 crore,” he argued, adding that consumption of diesel in 2020-21 was 72,713 thousand metric tonnes. At a price increase of Rs 7.20 per litre the additional yearly burden on people comes to Rs 52,353 crore, he said.
Surjewala said that when Congress-UPA government was in power, petrol and diesel were at Rs 71.41 and Rs 55.49 per litre respectively, which have now been increased to Rs 102.6 per litre and Rs 93.87 per litre in Delhi.
He further pointed out that in May, 2014, when BJP assumed power, excise duty on petrol and diesel was Rs 9.20 per litre and Rs 3.46 per litre respectively.
“In the last eight years, the BJP government has increased the excise duty on petrol by an additional Rs 18.70 per litre and on diesel by an additional Rs 18.34 per litre,” Surjewala said, adding that Modi government has earned Rs 26 lakh crore in eight years by increasing excise duty on petrol and diesel alone.
Taking a pot shot at the Centre, the Congress leader said that the price of commercial LPG cylinder has seen a massive hike of Rs 845 in last eight years of BJP rule.
He further said that domestic gas cylinder price was hiked by Rs 50 on March 22, 2022. “Since March 2021, the price hike for domestic gas cylinder is Rs 140.50. As per government’s ‘Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell’, consumption of LPG in the year 2020-21 was 27,384 thousand metric tonnes. “At a price increase of Rs 140.50 per cylinder, the additional yearly burden on people comes to Rs 27,095 crore,” he said.
He said price of CNG was hiked six times in a month. “A hike of 80 paise per kg has made CNG costlier by Rs 4 per kg in the last month alone. It is now priced at Rs 60.81 per kg in Delhi but varies upto Rs 79.49/kg in other cities. As per government’s CNG consumption data of 2019-20, CNG consumption in India is 3,247 thousand metric tonnes.”
“Based on this, year 2021-22 consumption of CNG is estimated at 3,500 thousand metric tonnes. At Rs 4 per kg this month, the additional burden on people comes to Rs 1,400 crore,” he said.
The price of piped natural gas (PNG) has been increased by Rs 5 per SCM in Delhi and Rs 5.85 per SCM in Noida on April 1, he said.
He also pointed out that toll tax on National Highways was hiked by 10-18 per cent on April 1.
Surjewala also said that the Centre has not even spared even patients as the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has announced a hike of 10.76 per cent in prices of around 800 essential drugs from April 1. “As per industry estimates, it will burden the ordinary consumer by Rs 10,000 crore,” the Congress leader added.