Congress appeals party workers to ensure violence-free Bharat bandh

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Reacting to the BJP's barb that the Congress believed in "Breaking India" while the BJP believed in "Make in India" the Congress asked the BJP if that was the case, why did the Modi government cancel the order to manufacture 108 Rafale fighter jets by the public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Yadav said, "While the opposition is protesting, prices of petrol and diesel have been hiked again this morning". On top of this, states levy Value Added Tax (VAT) - the lowest being in Andaman and Nicobar Islands where a 6 per cent sales tax is charged on both the fuel.

Holding the BJP government responsible for the rise in petrol and diesel prices, Maken alleged that it kept on raising excise duty on fuel even as global crude oil prices have come down. Nearly half of the retail selling price of petrol and diesel is made up of central and state taxes. The excise duty on petrol was Rs 9.2 per litre in 2014 and it has gone up to Rs 19.48 per litre.

The Bharat Bandh called by the Congress and Left on Monday against rising fuel prices and tumbling rupee evoked mixed response in the country as the opposition closed its ranks against the Modi government. Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also attributed the hike in fuel prices mainly to rupee depreciation. "If taxes are cut, prices will decline significantly".

In Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam, CPI (M) members protested against the rising fuel prices. This led to its excise collections from petro goods more than doubling in the last four years - from Rs 99,184 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 2,29,019 crore in 2017-18. It is clear that the prime reason why petrol and diesel are expensive is because of the central and state taxes. Further, it may also affect the stock markets negatively, especially those shares that are dependent on oil and gas in some way or the other.

"We have given income tax relief to the tune of Rs 98,000 crore and also Rs 80,000 crore on account of GST rate cuts on 334 commodities", he said.

Nearly half of the fuel price is made up of taxes. "Similarly, the excise duty on diesel was Rs 3.46 per litre and today it stands at Rs 15.33 per litre", he said.

On March 1 this year, the state had secured a litre of petrol for Rs 54.60.

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