Jammu Tawi, May 24
Congress today staged a strong protest against the Centre Govt. over the unprecedented hike in the prices of petrol & diesel in the Country and to express concern over the border situation and unabated Pakistan shelling leading to large number of causality of civilians and jawans. A large number of Congress leaders and activists including senior functionaries of PCC, DCC & leaders of frontal organizations including Youth Congress, Mahila Congress, INTUC & Congress Seva Dal held a strong protest demonstration at Shahidi Chowk Jammu against the BJP Govt. at the Centre over the unprecedented hike of petrol & diesel and other commodities of common use.
Addressing the protesters, Bhalla said that in the current scenario, there could be a strong case for bringing petrol and diesel under the GST, CARE Ratings. “With the sharp recovery of crude oil prices globally and with the increase in the prices of the auto fuels, the inclusion of petrol and diesel under the GST will help in rationalising the prices of these auto fuels,” he said. If petrol and diesel are brought under GST, it will lead to a 10% and 20% reduction in effective tax rates respectively for petrol and diesel, he added.
Bhalla also demanded reduction in excise duties on petroleum products imposed by the Centre and the VAT by state government. Congress leader claimed that there has been an increase of 211.7 per cent in the excise duty on petrol since May 2014, when “Modi” took over as prime minister. The increase in excise duty on diesel is 443.6 per cent since May 2014 till today, is “mindboggling and unprecedented”, he said. “This has happened nowhere in the world, never in the history of India”, Bhalla said.
Bhalla maintained that increase in fuel price has also increased in food price. This will have a more severe impact on poor people because poor households spend more than half of their income on food and only a tenth on fuel. It is a chain reaction, once started will affect all. Increase in petrol price will increase the transportation cost, increase in transportation cost will increase in price of goods, and this increase in price of goods would gradually force the people to loosen their pockets even more, and so on like this, the chain will further propagate.
These ups and downs push more people into poverty and leading to a more pathetic situation of those already poor. This has obviously sent shock waves to the common man who is trying hard to make both ends meet. Price hike affects only the low wages or fixed salaried middle class families as compared to higher wages salaried class. The existing middle class is squeezed and many of those striving to attain the middle-class standard find it persistently out of remit will bring no negative impact on government employees as their DAs will be increase accordingly. Rich and corrupted people are least bothered of it. Business class like auto-rickshaw drivers shall transfer the burden to common people so they are also safe. Common people if doing business shall also pass the burden to customers and chain reactions. The community that suffers the most is the common people or “Aam Aadmi, Bhalla maintained”.