Former finance minister P Chidambaram on Sunday termed the Modi government “anti-consumer” over record-high fuel prices and asked the government to bring them under the ambit of GST to provide relief to consumers.
In a series of tweets, the Congress leader also criticised the Centre over ONGC’s acquisition of the government’s stake in HPCL, saying it will have an impact on the fiscal deficit.
“Petrol and diesel prices have hit the roof. Govt continues to squeeze the consumers. Absolutely anti-consumer,” the former finance minister tweeted.
Chidambaram accused the government of squandering the windfall gains, reaped through “massive taxation” on petrol and diesel, in “wasteful expenditure”.
He wondered why the BJP was not providing relief to consumers by bringing these two petroleum products under GST. Diesel prices have touched a record high of Rs 61.74 per litre and petrol prices have crossed Rs 71.18 per litre in Delhi as international oil rates continue to rally.
Expressing concern of overshooting the fiscal-deficit target, Chidambaram said: “Govt cuts borrowing by Rs 30,000 crore, but ONGC will borrow Rs 30,000 crore to pay govt for HPCL shares. It has the same effect.”
State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation yesterday announced acquisition of government’s entire 51.11 per cent stake in oil refiner HPCL for Rs 36,915 crore, paying a premium of over 10 per cent.
Analysts and the market will add Rs 30,000 crore to the fiscal deficit, he added in another tweet.