Windfall tax cut exposed Modi govt's corporate bias: KTR

K T Rama Rao lashed out at the BJP-led NDA government for reducing the windfall tax on crude oil instead of transferring the benefit to common man by lowering petrol and diesel prices


HYDERABAD: Telangana IT Minister Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao on Friday lashed out at the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for reducing the windfall tax on crude oil instead of transferring the benefit to common man by way of lowering the petrol and diesel prices. In a press release, he accused the Narendra Modi Government of being insensitive to the interests of common citizens while favouring a handful of corporate companies.

KTR said that the price of petrol could be reduced to ₹70 per litre and diesel to ₹60 per litre if the Centre scrapped the 41 percent cess and asked the NDA government to do it first for the benefit of the ordinary citizens.

"The Central government did not reduce prices of petrol, instead, it slashed the taxes paid by corporate companies. This clearly shows that the corporate companies are the top priority for the Narendra Modi government," said KTR.

He said that Rs 35,000 crores were saved by importing crude oil from Russia at discounted price and that only two to three companies benefited from the deal instead of the ordinary citizens. KTR alleged that the corporate companies refined the crude oil bought from Russia and exported to other countries for higher profits. He demanded an explanation as to why the Central government permitted these corporate entities to export the crude oil bought from Russia, and not used within the country. "Ordinary Indian citizens did not benefit from it. Who is pocketing profits of the company?" the Minister questioned.

Finding fault with the Centre blaming States like Telangana for high petrol prices, KTR pointed out that the cess imposed by the Centre was the reason for it. The Minister said that a whopping Rs 30 lakh crores were collected in the form of cess across the country. He also sought to remind everyone that the Value Added Tax (VAT) was not increased in Telangana even once since 2014.

Earlier in the day, KTR exposed the Narendra Modi government's motives behind the windfall tax cut on domestic oil export through a series of tweets.

In a tongue-in-cheek poser, he wondered as to who will end up pocketing the 'windfall' gains even as there are no efforts to provide relief to the common Indians by removing additional excise duty and cess.

"While we are demanding relief for all Indians by way of removal of Additional Excise Duties & Cess, NPA Govt (a nickname given by KTR for the NDA regime) decides to reduce #WindfallTax on Fuel!!

Priorities of NPA Govt (Narendra Modi government) are clear but the Question is; into whose pockets are the Windfall Gains being routed to?," read his tweet on Friday.

Though the BRS leader refrained from mentioning the companies' names, he tagged one of CNBC-TV18's earlier tweets that screamed, "Reliance is (the) biggest beneficiary to a sharp cut in windfall tax on diesel and ATF (aviation turbine fuel)."

The screenshot of the media outlet's tweet showed the Reliance share soaring on the Sensex during one of the rallies in the day.

KTR's scathing attack came amid a war of words between the Centre and the non-BJP ruled states on who should give up their share in taxes to provide relief to the common consumer from the steep prices of petrol and diesel.

The Telangana IT Minister also poked the Centre over the allegations of allowing two or three corporate entities to benefit from the cheap Russian crude oil instead of using it for the country's needs.

"Any Guesses who is getting all the benefit from discounted oil from Russia?

Richie Rich Friends of Modi Ji or Not so lucky Indian Citizens?," was the tweet barb that the BRS leader reserved for the NDA biggies who had been raving about the imports from Russia. In fact, this was an after-thought to KTR's own tweet on Thursday in which he countered Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri's claims in Parliament.

"Let me also remind you Puri Ji that your fellow ministers were vociferously supportive of importing discounted crude oil from Russia. It was also reported that ₹35,000 Cr was saved. But if ordinary Indians are not getting the benefit, who is? Couple of friendly oil companies?," KTR tweeted.

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