Urging the Center to work on solutions, Congress President Sonia Gandhi called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to roll back fuel price increases and pass the benefits on to a middle and working class, farmers and the poor. She said these sections of society are grappling with an unprecedented economic downturn, widespread unemployment, wage cuts and job losses, high prices and erosion of incomes.
“I hope you will agree that it is time for your government to focus on solutions instead of looking for excuses. India deserves better,” she said in a letter to Modi on Sunday.
She expressed anguish and deep distress at the soaring prices of fuel and gas. She said people’s challenges have been compounded by soaring inflation and an unprecedented rise in the price of almost all household items and essential basic items. “Unfortunately, in these difficult times, the government has chosen to take advantage of the misery and suffering of the people,” said the president of the UPA.
She said the soaring price of diesel has added to the growing woes of millions of farmers. “What puzzles most citizens is that these prices have gone up despite moderate international crude oil prices. The price of crude oil is almost half of what it was during the tenure of the governments of the United States. UPA, to put it in context, therefore your governments taking action to raise prices (continuously for 12 days until February 20) is little less than a brazen act of profit, ”Gandhi argued.
She said the Center had raised excise duties on diesel by 820 percent and gasoline by 258 percent and collected more than 21 lakh crore in the past six and a half years. “This unaccounted for windfall has not yet been passed on to the people for whose benefit it was ostensibly collected,” she added.
“What is equally distressing is that, despite having been in power for almost 7 years now, your government continues to blame previous regimes for its own economic mismanagement. To set the record straight, domestic production crude oil fell to its lowest level in 18 years in the year 2020, ”she said.
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