Recent reduction in fuel prices a ‘mockery’, slash cess: CPI-M

New Delhi: The Communist Party of India-Marxist on Sunday termed the recent reduction in fuel prices a “mockery” and demanded that additional cess and surcharges must be withdrawn immediately to provide some meaningful relief to the people.

In a statement after the its Polit Bureau meeting in the national capital, the party said that the cut in Central excise duty of Rs 5 per litre for petrol and Rs 10 per litre for diesel provides no relief to the people who are suffering from the growing burden of higher prices of petroleum production.

“This token reduction must be seen in the light of the fact that central excise constitutes Rs 33 per litre of petrol and Rs 32 per litre of diesel,” it said.

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The CPI-M said that the Central government has made this meagre reduction from excise duties that are sharable with the states.

“However, it continues to collect special additional excise duty (surcharge) amounting to Rs 74,350 crore, additional excise duty (cess) amounting to Rs 1,98,000 crore, and other cess and surcharges amounting to Rs 15,150 crore, totaling a whopping Rs 287 lakh crores that are not sharable with the states,” it noted, demanding that “these additional cess and surcharges must be withdrawn immediately to provide some meaningful relief to the people”.

Referring to recent revelation in purchase of Rafale aircraft, the party said: “Even after the French investigative journal Mediapart revealed fresh evidence of commissions to middlemen in India and the documents related to this, along with the official negotiation details showing that the Dassault Aviation substantially benefited, the Central government is refusing to investigate the scam.”

“The efforts to bury high level corruption involved in the Rafale deal and the cover-up operation are reprehensible. While many governments of other countries have in some manner ordered investigations, the Modi government continues to remain obdurate in refusing to conduct such an investigation. This smacks of total complicity,” it said.

It demanded that a high-level independent enquiry must be conducted in the matter.

The CPI-M Polit Bureau also expressed concern about reports of attacks against minorities all over the country. “Rightwing groups patronised by the governments are emboldened to perpetuate such crimes. The administration, instead of protecting victims, actually punishes them and their supporters with the arrests under draconian laws,” it said, claiming that in Uttar Pradesh, the use of NSA against Muslims have become common place along with numerous encounters.

“The fundamental right to offer prayers is being curtailed, as the recent incidents in the NCR, Gurgaon has shown,” the statement said.

It also demanded that the Centre withdraw its decision to extend the jurisdiction of BSF upto 50 km from the international border, from the earlier 15 km, in Punjab, West Bengal, and Assam.

The CPI-M Polit Bureau also extended solidarity and support to the decision of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha to observe the first anniversary of the historic kisan struggle by strengthening the mobilisation at the border points of Delhi and conducting protest actions in all state capitals on November 26.

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