Referring to the increase in excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2.25 and Rs one a litre respectively effective last night, PMK founder S Ramadoss today said it would affect the poor and middle class people.

"If the government wants to tackle fiscal deficit it can cut the concessions being given to big industries and control government expenditure," he said, adding "instead of pursuing such measures, reducing allocation for social sectors to the tune of Rs 40,000 crore will not augur well for long term growth."

The hike in excise duty is the second such increase in three weeks.

On November 12, the government had raised the excise duty by Rs 1.50 per litre on both petrol and diesel but that did not have any impact on the retail prices.

TNCC chief EVK S Elangovan also flayed the hike in excise duty, and said the 'cut' by oil marketing firms is 'an eyewash'.

In view of the declining prices of crude, oil marketing companies had on Monday cut petrol price by 91 paise a litre, the seventh reduction since August, and diesel by 84 paise per litre, the third straight cut.

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