Demanding a roll-back of the hike in fuel prices, the Congress decided on Tuesday to launch a ‘Jan Andolan’ across the country soon against the hike.
Discussing the issue at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the party condemned the hike in petrol and diesel prices and reminded the government of its “Raj Dharma”.
The CWC passed a resolution expressing shock and concern over the repeated and “unjust” increase in petrol and diesel prices as also excise duty over the last three months of the lockdown.
“The CWC demands that the Central Government roll back these thoughtless increases with immediate effect and pass on the benefit of low oil prices (globally) directly to the citizens of this country,” the resolution said.
Congress general secretary K C Venugopal told a press conference that the party has decided to hold a national level demonstration, abiding by the health protocols in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The Congress will soon launch a ‘Jan Andolan’ across the country against the petrol and diesel price hikes. A detailed plan will be chalked out soon,” said Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.
“The Central government is profiteering by fleecing the people of India,” the CWC said, adding that this is illustrated by the fact that the centre has increased the excise duty on petrol from Rs 9.20 per litre in 2014 to an additional Rs 23.78 per litre, and on diesel from Rs 3.46 per litre to Rs 28.37 per litre.
“These extortionate increases have been inflicted on the Indian people by the Central Government at a time they are facing unprecedented economic challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the resolution said.
The CWC described these increases as “sheer exploitation” of an already beleaguered people and “an act that unjustly enriches the Government at the cost of our people struggling with rising unemployment, deep income shortfalls and significant salary cuts”.
“If the Government does not alter the course on this ill-advised trajectory then it will have the ruinous consequence of pushing many middle-income households to the margins of poverty and pushing the poor to total economic ruin,” the resolution said.
The party also urged the central government to consider direct cash transfer to the poorest of the poor.
“The CWC urges the Government to inject confidence in the economy by injecting cash, through the DBT mechanism, in the accounts of the poor,” the resolution said. “The CWC joins those voices asking for an increase in guaranteed work days under MGNREGA from 100 to 200.”
The CWC called upon the Central government to extend the special provision for 5 kg additional food grains per person per month till September 2020. It also demanded that temporary ration cards be issued to all those currently not falling in any beneficiary list.