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Thursday,21-October-2021

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Pass benefit of cheap crude to people: Congress to government

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The Congress on Saturday hit out at the Narendra Modi government over the steep excise duty price hike in petrol and diesel by Rs 3 per litre and demanded that the benefit of reduced international crude oil prices should be passed on to the people and the rates of petroleum products be reduced by at least 35-40 per cent.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, senior Congress leader Ajay Maken said, “The government hiked excise duty on petrol and diesel by a steep Rs 3 per litre to garner about Rs 39,000 crore additional revenue as it repeated its 2014-15 act of not passing on gains arising from slump in international oil prices.”

The former Union Minister said that with this, the total incidence of excise duty on petrol has risen to Rs 22.98 per litre and that on diesel to Rs 18.83 per litre.

“The tax on petrol was Rs 9.48 per litre when the Modi government took office in 2014 and that on diesel was Rs 3.56 a litre,” he said, comparing the UPA government decisions.

He alleged that the central excise duty has been hiked more than a dozen times since BJP came to power in 2014. “Excise duty has been increased by 149.78 per cent on petrol and 444.22 per cent on diesel by Modi government since May 2014 as excise duty on petrol and diesel was Rs 9.2 per litre and Rs 3.46 per litre in May 2014, which has been increased to Rs 22.98 and Rs 18.83 per litre respectively,” he said.

Maken also said that the monstrous taxes levied by the Modi government have resulted in the skyrocketing petrol and diesel prices, which is major cause of rising transportation costs and resultant inflation.

Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Congress leader said, “Modi-Shah government must pass on the relief of record low crude oil price to the people of India against the stagflation and rising unemployment by lowering petrol/diesel/LPG rates in consonance with the huge fall in international crude oil prices.”

Citing the international crude oil prices hitting the record low, Maken said crude oil prices are all time low in the last 15 years, down to US $35-38 per barrel, yet petrol and diesel prices are skyrocketing, while the common people, the middle class, the farmers, the transporters and small and medium businesses are bearing the brunt of high petrol rates.

He accused the BJP government of robbing more than Rs 16 lakh crore in the last five years by charging exorbitant taxes on petrol-diesel. “Adding the present 3.4 lakh crores, the BJP government in total would have made a profit of Rs 20 lakh crore,” he claimed.

He said the ill-directed anti-people policies of the BJP government are responsible for the high prices of petrol, diesel and LPG despite crude oil consistently remaining down to less than fifty per cent for the last six years.

“Petrol and diesel should be brought under the GST. The hike in excise duty or customs duty effected by Modi government since May 2014 on petroleum products should be withdrawn immediately until it is brought under the GST regime,” he added.

National News

Congress damaged interests by not trusting me: Amarinder

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 Two days after announcing to launch his own political outfit to serve the interests of the people, two-time Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday slammed AICC general secretary Harish Rawat, saying the party has damaged its own interests by not trusting him and giving the party into the hands of an ‘unstable person’ like Navjot Sidhu.

“Your apprehension is that I’ll damage @INCIndia interests in Punjab…. Fact is @harishrawatcmuk ji, the party has damaged its own interests by not trusting me and giving @INCPunjab into the hands of an unstable person like @sherryontopp who’s only loyal to himself: capt_amarinder,” media advisor Raveen Thukral quoting Amarinder Singh as saying in a tweet.

In a series of tweets, Amarinder Singh asked Rawat, who is Punjab affairs in-charge, “Today you’re accusing me of helping my rival @Akali_Dal for 4 and a half years @harishrawatcmuk ji. Is that why you think I’ve been fighting court cases against them for the last 10 years? And why I’ve won @INCIndia all elections in Punjab since 2017?”

Asking Rawat to stop talking about secularism, the former Chief Minister said, “Don’t forget @INCIndia took in @sherryontopp after he was with @BJP4India for 14 years. And where did Nana Patole and Revnath Reddy come from if not RSS? And Pargat Singh was with @Akali_Dal for 4 years!”

Amarinder Singh further asked Rawat, “And what are you doing with @ShivsenaComms in Maharashtra? Or are you saying @harishrawatcmuk Ji that it’s ok to join forces with so-called communal parties as long as it suits @INCIndia purpose.

“What’s this if not sheer political opportunism?” he asked.

The former Chief Minister’s reaction came a day after Rawat said Amarinder’s announcement of floating a new party will not hurt the Congress in Punjab.

It will actually divide the votes of Congress’ rivals in the state, Rawat said, adding, “Our votes will depend on the performance of the Charanjit Singh Channi government. The way Channi has started, it has created a good impression before Punjab and the entire nation.”

Meanwhile, state party President Navjot Singh Sidhu blamed Amarinder Singh the architect of three black farm laws.

“The Architect of 3 Black Laws… Who brought Ambani to Punjab’s Kisani… Who destroyed Punjab’s Farmers, Small traders and Labour for benefiting 1-2 Big Corporates!!” Sidhu said in a tweet with photos of the former Chief Minister meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah and others.

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National News

100cr vaccination milestone belongs to Indian citizens: Modi

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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the 100 crore vaccination milestone belongs to India and its citizens.

“Today is a historic day as India has crossed the 100 crore vaccine dose mark. To counter the largest pandemic in 100 years, the country now has a strong protective shield of 100 crore vaccine doses. This achievement belongs to India and its citizens,” the Prime Minister said.

India achieved the 100 crore vaccination milestone on Thursday morning.

Modi also inaugurated the Infosys Foundation Vishram Sadan at the National Cancer Institute in the Jhajjar (Haryana) campus of AIIMS New Delhi through a video conference on Thursday.

The Prime Minister expressed his gratitude on this occasion to all the vaccine manufacturing companies of the country, workers engaged in vaccine transportation and the health sector professionals engaged in vaccine development.

This Vishram Sadan, built in the National Cancer Institute, will reduce the worries of patients and their relatives, he said.

The Prime Minister praised Infosys Foundation for constructing the building of Vishram Sadan and AIIMS Jhajjar for providing the land, electricity and water. He expressed his gratitude to the AIIMS management and Sudha Murthy’s team for this service.

He said when the patient gets free treatment under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, an act of service is accomplished. It is this service motive that has made the government take steps to reduce the prices of about 400 cancer medicines, the Prime Minister said.

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‘Pak playing T-20 in J&K’: Owaisi slams Modi govt over match

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 AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday slammed the Narendra Modi government for allowing the Indian cricket team to play a T20 match with Pakistan at a time when “our soldiers are being killed in Kashmir”.

India is scheduled to play the first match of T20 World Cup against Pakistan in Dubai on October 24.

Addressing a public meeting on the eve of Eid Milad-un-Nabi at AIMIM headquarters Darussalam, he said: “Pakistan is playing T20 with Indian lives in Kashmir. How can we play a match against them amid regular terror attacks there?”

He recalled how Prime Minister Modi had criticised then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “for sharing biryani with the Pakistan PM when Indian jawans were being killed on the borders”.

Owaisi also alleged that the targetted killings in Kashmir were a result of lack of policy of terrorism by the Modi government, and questioned the government’s claim that problems in Kashmir have ended with the repeal of Article 370.

Referring to the death of labourers from Bihar in Kashmir, he wondered what the intelligence agencies and Home Minister Amit Shah were doing.

The AIMIM leader also lashed out at PM Modi for his silence on petrol and diesel prices.

“He is silent on skyrocketing fuel prices. The cost of petrol and diesel have hit the century mark, yet he has not commented on it.”

Owaisi also questioned the Prime Minister on his silence over Chinese Army entering and occupying the Indian territory. “Why is he afraid of even taking the name of China,” he asked.

The AIMIM also voiced concern over the situation faced by Muslims in the country.

Quoting a 27-year-old lawyer to describe the current situation, he said: “A Muslim is living under the threat of someone attacking his shop or a mob lynching him. He feels helpless. They (the government) have criminalised triple talaq, they have criminalised religious conversions and they are trying to bring Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) through backdoor. If I protest, they book me under UAPA or NSA.”

At the press meet, he also discussed how there are lack of opportunities and no inter-mobility among Muslims. According to him, because of Hindutva, his Hindu friends and business partners have distanced themselves from him.

Owaisi, however, advised Muslims not to lose hope. He said they should keep their spirits up and face the situation with courage.

He also urged the youth to self-introspect and keep themselves away from all societal evils by offering prayers, building character, desisting from taking dowry and helping the poor and needy, irrespective of their community.

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