New Delhi“: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at the Centre on Monday over the rise in fuel prices and said one should beware of “pickpockets”.
“Beware of pickpockets,” he said in a tweet in Hindi, using the hashtag “#TaxExtortion”.
The former Congress chief cited a news report along with his tweet that said the petrol prices in some states have crossed Rs 120 a litre and that the Centre collected Rs 2.3 lakh crore in 2018-19 and Rs 2.58 lakh crore in 2017-18 by way of fuel taxes.
Gandhi and the Congress have been extremely critical of the government over the rise in fuel prices. The opposition party has accused the government of extortion in the name of taxes on petrol and diesel.
It has also charged the government with “profiteering” from fuel tax and “fleecing” the common people.
The government’s collection from the levy of excise duty on petroleum products has risen by 33 per cent in the first six months of the current fiscal, as compared to last year, and is 79 per cent more than the pre-Covid levels, according to official data.
Data available from the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) in the Union Ministry of Finance showed excise duty collections during April-September, 2021 surging to over Rs 1.71 lakh crore from the Rs 1.28 lakh crore mop-up in the same period of the previous fiscal.
Thanks to a steep hike in the excise duty rates, the collection is 79 per cent more than the Rs 95,930 crore mop-up in April-September, 2019.
In the full 2020-21 fiscal, excise collections were Rs 3.89 lakh crore and in 2019-20, it was Rs 2.39 lakh crore, the CGA data showed.