The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
Oppose Petrol/Diesel Price Hike
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly condemns the hike in prices of petrol and diesel. Apart from being completely unwarranted, this hike will impose further burdens on the people who are already groaning under the onslaught of the BJP-led NDA government's economic policies. Additionally, this hike will have a cascading inflationary impact on the economy leading to further deterioration of people's livelihood.
The rationale given by this BJP-led government justifying this hike is completely untenable. The increases in the international prices of oil do not justify this hike. The extra expenditure incurred as a consequence should have been met by withdrawing the additional cess of Re. 1 per litre on diesel that was imposed in 1998.
Moreover, this year's budget had doubled the cess on indigenously produced oil by public sector companies garnering for the government an additional revenue of Rs. 2,700 crores. The total removal of this, i.e., approximately Rs. 5,400 crores would be more than sufficient to offset the extra expenditures due to the rise in international prices. Such a cess is incompatible with a deregulated system where the Administrative Price Mechanism (APM) has been dismantled.
This BJP-led government is disingenuously frauding the people by not adhering to the commitment of reducing the duties on petroleum products that had to accompany the process of dismantling the APM. Clearly, the government is bolstering its finances at the expense of the people in order to meet its fiscal requirements. This year alone, the government has estimated to collect a whopping Rs. 44,000 crores through taxes on petroleum products, if international prices remained at $ 20 a barrel. At the current prices of $ 24 a barrel, the government would be making an additional Rs. 4,000 crores.
Given these facts, it is clear that the government is imposing these additional burdens to meet its fiscal expenditures. This is both untenable and unjustifiable.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) calls upon all its units to launch protest actions against this latest attack on people's livelihood.