New Delhi: The CPI-M on Thursday attacked the government over reports of another impending hike in prices of petroleum products, saying a "gigantic fraud" was being committed on the people in the name of losses of oil companies.
Reacting to Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy`s statement that the hike was necessary to contain high fiscal deficit and burgeoning losses of oil firms, party leader Sitaram Yechury quoted official data to show that all these companies had posted huge profits.
"A gigantic fraud is being committed on the Indian people. Such imposition of severe economic burdens which will further worsen the already declining livelihood status of our people cannot be allowed," he said in an editorial in the forthcoming issue of CPI-M organ `People`s Democracy`.
He said while the fiscal deficit of 6.9 per cent of GDP translated to nearly Rs 5.22 lakh crore, "in the same fiscal year, government granted tax concessions to the corporates and the rich to the tune of Rs 5.28 lakh crores.
"If this largesse was not given to those who are already rich, then there is no deficit at all. Having given the rich such high levels of subsidies, this UPA-2 government is now imposing severe economic burdens on the majority of the people in the name of containing the fiscal deficit and thereby cutting whatever little subsidies are provided for the needy and poor."
While ONGC declared a net profit of Rs 25,123 crore for 2011-12 and reported a further growth of 48.4 per cent till June, IOC reported a net profit of Rs 4,265.27 crore, HPCL Rs 911 crore and BPCL Rs 1,546.68 crore. During this January- March, HPCL`s net profit went up by 312 per cent, he said.
Yechury also attacked the BJP, saying it was "whipping up of communal polarization" and had "little to say about the impending rise" in petro product prices.
"On such attacks on people`s livelihood and on a host of other neo-liberal economic policies, Congress and BJP find themselves on the same plane."