The Congress accused the government on Monday of indulging in profiteering from low crude oil prices when the country is in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, and stressed that it is time to care for the people and "share a part of the Rs 20 lakh crore profit" it has made so far.
The need of the hour and immediate necessity is to share a part of this profit made by the government in the last six years, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.
He said it is time to reduce taxes or give it back in some other form to farmers, labourers and common people suffering amid lockdown due to COVID-19 and because of the country's economic downturn.
"It is not a time for profiteering, it is a time for the government to do profit-sharing...This is the need of the hour and the immediate necessity," he said at a press conference addressed through video conferencing.
Singhvi also alleged that the Centre has made a profit of around Rs 20 lakh crore in the last six years.
"Our question today to you is why are you not passing on a fraction of these humongous gains," he posed, adding that "the BJP needs to realise that it has to stop solo profiteering; instead of stealing touch it has to give a healing touch."
"The BJP has to realise and it must stop this process of solo profiteering. All profits are for them, all pains are for the average man. They have to convert this solo profiteering and adopt the model of profit sharing.
"Instead of stealing touch, they have to understand how to give the healing touch, because Rs 20 lakh crores are available to give the healing touch in whatever way you want to give it," Singhvi said.
He recalled that the price of crude oil internationally was hovering around USD 108 per barrel in March 2014 and now, six years later on March 30, it was at a historic low of USD 23 per barrel.
He said each one dollar decrease in international oil prices directly benefits the government of India by Rs 10,704 crore.
The reality is that petrol today is actually available at Rs 28 per litre as far as the international price is concerned, but it is sold to us at Rs 74 per litre, he said.
In diesel, Singhvi said the actual figure should be Rs 32 per litre, it is sold to us at Rs 65 per litre.
Lives are most important, followed by livelihood, the Congress leader said, adding that the second depends on the first and the first also depends on the second to an extent.
"We want to draw your attention to GDP -- Gas Diesel Petrol -- during lockdown and how they should be harnessed to deal with the lockdown," he said.
Singhvi alleged that astonishingly on March 14, the government hiked diesel and petrol by Rs 3 per litre roughly and got Rs 39,000 crore additional profit.
"If you look at it from the point of view of the 2014 figures, this is a 149 per cent increase in excise on petrol and 444 per cent increase in excise on diesel. This is since 2014. This is happening bang in the middle of coronavirus.
"In addition, they have notified, the BJP government notified a Rs 1 per litre increase in Road and Infrastructure Cess and Additional Excise Duty of Rs 2 per litre in Special Excise Duty. Now, it is very weird, sad and unfortunate that right in the middle of the heart of the corona month, March, four historic and yet terrible events are happening," he said.