Sonia Gandhi, chief of India’s main opposition party Congress on Tuesday slammed the federal government for continuous hikes in oil prices. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gandhi termed the decision as “wholly insensitive” after oil marketing companies ended their 82-day hiatus and have been increasing prices every day since 7 June.
“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 sufferings, not put the people to still greater hardship", said Sonia Gandhi in the letter to Modi.
Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi writes to the Prime Minister urging the govt to immediately roll back hikes on fuel prices & pass the benefit of low crude oil prices to the citizens. pic.twitter.com/NQstx7v5Ac— Congress (@INCIndia) June 16, 2020
The Congress chief said the government is indulging in profiteering when international prices of crude oil have fallen by approximately 9 percent over the last week. She said, despite historically low oil prices over the last six years, the government has enriched its revenues by imposing higher excise duty on petrol and diesel, which translates into a 258 percent increase during these six years, or INR 1.800 billion (US $23.53 billion).
“I urge you to roll back these increases and pass on the benefit of low oil prices directly to the citizens of this country", reads her letter.
On Monday, former Chief of the Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi had described the hike in oil prices as “gifts the crony capitalists get” from the middle and poor.
International prices of crude per barrel nosedived from an average of $55 in February to $35 in early March because of the slump in demand amidst the global pandemic. The current prices for crude from the Orgnisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is around $37 per barrel.