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Friday, April 23, 2021

In LS, Oppn targets Govt over fuel prices, Budget

While the Congress raised the issue of rising economic inequality and fuel prices, the Shiv Sena said that farmers’ income will never double if fuel prices kept increasing.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi |
Updated: March 24, 2021 6:19:43 am
Parliament LIVE Updates: Rajya Sabha to discuss Govt of NCT (Amendment) Bill todayRajya Sabha proceedings were Wednesday adjourned for one hour as members paid tribute to sitting member Mohammad John, who died of a cardiac arrest yesterday evening. (File)

The Opposition took on the government over provisions in the Budget and rising fuel prices in the country during discussions on the Finance Bill, 2021, in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. While the Congress raised the issue of rising economic inequality and fuel prices, the Shiv Sena said that farmers’ income will never double if fuel prices kept increasing.

“The inequality is increasing. Your own data shows that 73 per cent of wealth generated in the country goes to 1 per cent people. You have given tax relief to the rich but taxed the poor. Why are petrol and diesel getting more expensive every day? You have been increasing cess on everything which goes to central coffers. It doesn’t help states. GST compensation has also not been given. Please do not do this, states are suffering,” Congress MP from Punjab Amar Singh said.

Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut also raised the issue of fuel prices.

“On one hand you talk about doubling income of farmers, on the other you increase diesel and petrol prices in the name of agricultural cess. You are crippling the farmer as the transportation cost of his produce is increasing. Farmers are protesting in Delhi but after taking a few initial steps, you are not talking to them and resolving the issue,” Raut said.

Raising the issue of LPG prices, Raut said, “LPG prices have also increased. People are again using wood. Does the government want people to use more wood for cooking and fall ill?”

Raut demanded that fuel and gas be brought under GST. “The Late Arun Jaitley had said that we are in favour of bringing fuel and gas under GST. Why haven’t you done this? I request PM, you are a well-wisher of the poor, please bring them under GST to bring the prices down.”

Speaking on the Budget, Congress’s Amar Singh said that the government was blaming the pandemic for the poor condition of the economy but the economy was doing poorly since the first quarter of 2018-19. “Even if we grow by 10 per cent in the next year we will only reach 0. So tell us when will we reach the GDP figures of 2018-19,” Singh asked, adding that data on unorganised sector losses should be collected. “Except agriculture, all sectors have suffered. Government should try to fathom through NSSO the losses in the unorganised sector. We have totally ignored the unorganised sector,” Singh said. “Why have you decreased MGNREGA budget by Rs 38,000 crore? You have said nothing about job losses,” he said.

He also said that at a time when India was facing threat from China, there was no substantial capital expenditure in defence. “Capital expenditure used to be 36 per cent under UPA, now it is 25-26 per cent. Defence was expecting more, but it didn’t happen,” Singh said.

Vinayak Raut of Shiv Sena said that the economy was facing a dire situation as 6.8 lakh companies had closed down and 74 per cent small businesses had shut down during the pandemic.

“Over 10,000 firms have shut down … 71 lakh EPF accounts have shut down. How are you going to generate jobs? But, you have waived off Rs 68,000 crore to the rich,” Raut said. He also raised the issue of MPLAD funds.

YSRCP’s PV Midhun Reddy asked the government to release pending payments in MGNREGA and requested not to disinvest profit-making PSUs.

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