Hike in LPG price exposes anti-poor face of Modi govt: Cong

New Delhi, Mar 2 (IANS): With LPG prices staying northbound in the country, the Congress on Tuesday attacked the government over the rise in prices, saying the withdrawal of subsidy on LPG has exposed the 'anti-poor' and 'anti-middle class' face of the Narendra Modi-led government.

Chief spokesperson of the Congress, Randeep Singh Surjewala, said, "The prices of subsidised cooking gas should be halved to the level of the prices that prevailed during the Congress rule. Constant increase in the prices of LPG-CNG-PNG, petrol and diesel is the living example of Modi government's arrogance."

The Congress leader said that despite opposition from the common people, there has been a hefty increase of Rs 125 per cylinder in less than a month's time in the prices of subsidised, non-subsidised and Ujjwala Yojana domestic gas cylinders. After the withdrawal of the subsidy on LPG gas cylinders, the increase in the prices of CNG-PNG has exposed the Modi government, he said.

"People are already reeling under the pain caused by the Corona pandemic. The economy has been in shambles, while the poor have become poorer. But despite all this, the government has not given any relief to the poor, middle class, non-income tax payees and Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries from the rising prices. Now they have to pay a hefty amount of not less than Rs 819 for a cooking gas cylinder," Sujewala said.

After the increase in the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG, the government on Tuesday increased the prices of CNG by 70 paise per kg.

The Congress said that LPG rates are decided on the basis prices of Saudi Aramco, which presently stand at $587.21 per metric tonne, which comes to Rs 42,889.81 per metric tonne in accordance with the dollar-rupee exchange rate of 73.04, which means international prices of LPG is Rs 42.88 per kg.

A domestic gas cylinder contains 14.2 kg gas. If its base price is calculated, it comes to Rs 609.03 per cylinder. On this price, the government charges 5 per cent GST, bottling charges, agency commission, transportation charges and then adds on its profit and a hefty amount of Rs 819 is charged for each cylinder from the poor people of the country, which exposes the Modi government's anti-poor and anti-middle class mindset, Surjewala said.

During the UPA regime, international prices of LPG in 2012-13 and 2013-14 were $885.2 and $880.5, respectively. The UPA government, after purchasing the LPG at higher prices, used to supply it to the common people at a substantially subsidised price of Rs 399-414 per cylinder, the Congress leader said.

After purchasing the LPG at 50 per cent higher prices in the international market, the UPA government supplied it to the consumers at half the price compared to the present rate, Surjewala said.



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