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Diesel Price Hits Fresh All-Time High, Petrol Costliest Since September 2013

The surge in petrol and diesel prices renews calls for the government to cut excise tax rates.

Updated:April 20, 2018, 6:37 PM IST
New Delhi: Diesel prices retailed at an all-time high on Friday. In Delhi, diesel clocked a record high of Rs. 65.31. In Kolkata, diesel rates were at Rs 68.01, in Mumbai at Rs. 69.54 and in Chennai at Rs. 68.9. Petrol prices were also recorded at a 55-month high.

According to the official website of Indian Oil, petrol prices retailed at Rs. 74.08 per litre in Delhi, the highest since September 2013.

Global oil prices have risen to their highest since late 2014 built on the ongoing cuts in global supply.

Petrol prices have gone up by over 50 paise in major cities and diesel by over 90 paise since March 2018. Since the start of this year, in top cities, petrol prices have risen by over Rs. 4 per litre and diesel by Rs. 5-6 per litre.



Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram slammed the Modi government over the high petrol prices, saying it has become clueless and floundering and is living off an oil bonanza. In a series of tweets, the former Finance Minister said the BJP boasts that it is ruling 22 states but why does the NDA government refuse to bring petroleum and petroleum products under GST.

"For the last four years, the BJP government has lived off an oil bonanza. Minus the oil bonanza, the BJP government is clueless and floundering. Even a school child knows the answer. It is because of the 'Tax the Consumer' policy of the BJP government," he said.

State-owned oil companies like Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation in June last year dumped the 15-year old practice of revising rates on the 1st and 16th of every month . Instead, they adopted a daily price revision system to instantly reflect changes in cost. Since then, prices are revised on a daily basis.

Besides the global crude prices, domestic petrol and diesel prices depend on government taxes, both at the central and the state level, among other factors. India imports bulk of its energy requirements.

Petrol price on Sunday had hit a four-year high of Rs 73.73 a litre, while diesel rates had touched an all-time high of Rs 64.58 in the national capital.

The surge in rates renews calls for the government to cut excise tax rates.

The Oil Ministry had earlier this year sought a reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel to cushion the impact of rising international oil rates, but Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget presented on February 1 ignored those calls.

India has the highest retail prices of petrol and diesel among South Asian nations as taxes account for half of the pump rates.

Jaitley had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre.

Subsequent to that excise duty reduction, the Centre had asked states to also lower VAT but just four of them — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh — reduced rates while others including BJP-ruled ones ignored the call.

The central government had cut excise duty by Rs 2 per litre in October 2017, when petrol price reached Rs 70.88 per litre in Delhi and diesel Rs. 59.14. Because of the reduction in excise duty, diesel prices had on October 4, 2017 come down to Rs 56.89 per litre and petrol to Rs 68.38 per litre. However, a global rally in crude prices pushed domestic fuel prices far higher than those levels.

The October 2017 excise duty cut cost the government Rs 26,000 crore in annual revenue and about Rs 13,000 crore during the remaining part of the current fiscal year.

The government had between November 2014 and January 2016 raised excise duty on petrol and diesel on nine occasions to take away gains arising from plummeting global oil prices. In all, duty on petrol rate was hiked by Rs 11.77 per litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre in those 15 months that helped government's excise mop up more than double to Rs 242,000 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 99,000 crore in 2014-15.
| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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