Government won't slash excise duty on petrol, diesel

Petrol Price At Rs 74.50 A Litre In Delhi Highest Since September 2013

In June 2017, state-controlled oil marketing companies discarded the 15-year old practice of revising rates on 1st and 16th of every month and in its place agreed on a dynamic daily price revision procedure. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the worldwide crude oil prices rebounded from an early slide to finish higher and strengthen further in post-settlement trade, as investors feared US sanctions could dampen Iran's output.

Crude oil prices rose at a scorching 24% in the first three months of 2018 before hitting a 40-month high in April following a decline in global inventories, largely caused by the production cuts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members and also by geopolitical tensions in West Asia.

Petrol price hit Rs 74.40 a litre, the highest level under the BJP-led government, while diesel rates touched a record high of Rs 65.65.

Speaking to ANI, Bansal said, "Diesel rates have increased more than Rs. 10 in the last four years".

Official sources said there would not be any reduction in excise duty in petrol and diesel, as they will negatively impact the fiscal deficit glide path. The hike, necessitated due to firming worldwide oil prices, comes on back of a 13 paise increase in rates of petrol effected Saturday and a 15 paise hike on diesel, it said.

Currently, the finance ministry is not considering any immediate reduction in excise duty to provide some relief to consumers but wants states to cut sales tax or Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel, reports the PTI citing an unnamed senior government official.

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Oil ministry had earlier this year sought a reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel to cushion the impact rising global oil rates but finance minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget presented February 1, ignored those calls. The Union government levies Rs 19.48 a litre of excise duty on petrol and Rs 15.33 per litre on diesel.

As the fuel fills up the coffers abundantly, neither the finance ministry nor the states wants to change that situation. The central government had cut the excise duty by Rs 2 per litre in October 2017.

Subsequent to that excise duty reduction, the Centre had asked states to also lower Value-Added Tax, but just four of them - Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh - reduced rates while others including BJP-ruled ones ignored the call. With the government benefitting from high taxes on petrol and diesel prices it is time to reconsider high excise duty imposed on petrol and diesel prices by the government.

Off lately, however, crude oil prices have again started rising.

Petrol and diesel prices have been on a rise. The petrol price in New Delhi is at six-year high. However, during the same period, the fall in petrol and diesel price in Mumbai was just around 20 percent.

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