The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly denounces yet another hike in the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.  These hikes in excise duties come at a time when international oil prices have fallen with the base price for petrol being Rs. 47.12 in 2014 to Rs. 29.34 in 2021, i.e., nearly 50 per cent.

The main reason for these escalating prices is the unbridled hike in the excise duties by the Central government, which today is 38 per cent of the cost of petrol.  The tax levied by the Centre increased by a whopping 217 per cent since this Modi government assumed office in 2014.

These hikes in the excise duties are clearly meant to offset the losses to government revenues due to the tax concessions provided to the corporates and income tax payees.  There is a significant reduction in the corporate and income tax revenues from 6.81 and 6.38 lakh crores respectively last year – a reduction to 5.47 and 5.61 lakh crores respectively, as shown in the 2020-21 budget.

The Modi government’s bonanza to the rich and its cronies is sought to be made up by these excise duty hikes imposing further burdens on the people, who are already groaning under the double whammy attack on their livelihoods by the pandemic and the economic recession.

Further, the hikes in prices of petroleum products will result in higher transportation costs which will increase the prices of all essential commodities.  The cascading inflationary effect will further worsen the economic recession.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) calls upon all Party units across the country to organize protest actions demanding that the Centre withdraw these excise duties.