Chidambaram lambasts ‘anti-consumer’ Centre over surging petrol, diesel prices
New Delhi [India], Jan 21 : Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram while accusing the Union government of being "anti-consumer" said citizens are being "squeezed" due to the increasing petrol and diesel prices. In a series of tweets, the senior Congress Party leader said petrol and diesel must be brought under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), as this would give the consumers a much-needed relief. "Petrol and diesel prices have hit the roof. The government continues to squeeze the consumers; absolutely anti-consumer. The government has reaped a windfall through massive taxation of petrol and diesel, and the money was squandered on wasteful expenditure," he tweeted. In the past week, petrol prices were hiked by 14-15 paise per litre in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai, while diesel rates increased by 19-20 paise per litre, according to Indian Oil Corporation. It was reported that in the national capital, the diesel price is at an all-time high, while petrol price is the highest since August 2014. Meanwhile, Chidambaram while talking about the sale of the government's share in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) said the expenditure will neutralise the slash in borrowings that has been facilitated. "The government cuts borrowings by Rs 30,000 crore, but ONGC will borrow Rs 30,000 crore to pay for HPCL shares. It has the same effect. Analysts and the market will add Rs 30,000 crore to the fiscal deficit," he said. On a related note, the government on Saturday said its 51.11 percent shares in HPCL will be sold to ONGC at a consideration of Rs. 36,915 crores.
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