No relief on fuel hike! Petrol touches historic high of Rs 81 in Delhi, diesel at Rs 73.08
While the government has refused to cut the high excise duty, some states like Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have cut VAT to pass on some relief to consumers.
Petrol and diesel prices in Delhi jumped to all-time highs on Thursday as the prices of the two fuels were up by another 3 paise and 11 paise per litre, respectively. The petrol price in the national capital has touched Rs 81 per litre while diesel, too, is at a historic high of Rs 73.08 per litre. In financial capital Mumbai, petrol was increased by 20 paise, while diesel rose by 15 paise. In Greater Mumbai, petrol is up 15 paise at Rs 88.39 and diesel was priced at Rs 77.58, an increase of 11 paise from Tuesday. Fuel prices remained unchanged on Wednesday.
The government has been struggling to find ways to contain the ever rising prices of petrol and diesel in the country. The rupee free fall also continues unabated. The domestic currency slumped to a historic low of Rs 72.91 on Wednesday forcing the RBI to sell US dollars in the market through public sector banks to bring the Indian currency back from the brink. On Thursday morning, the rupee recovered further from its earlier level of Rs 72.18 to Rs 71.96. The rupee has fallen over 13 per cent against the dollar since January.
On back foot over rising fuel prices, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will likely hold a review meeting on weekend to find out ways to stop the free fall of rupee against the US dollar and the ever rising prices of petrol and diesel.
While the Opposition claims the government is stubbornly refusing to cut the high excise duty, which is adding to the crushing burden on consumers, some states like Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have cut VAT (Value Added Tax) to pass on some relief to the consumers.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said the state government has decided to reduce the fuel prices by Re 1 per litre. Before that, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh also reduced the fuel prices by Rs 2.5 per litre and Rs 2 per litre, respectively.
The Centre currently levies a total excise duty of Rs 19.48 per litre on petrol and Rs 15.33 per litre on diesel. VAT varies amongst states. The Central government had raised excise duty on petrol by Rs 11.77 a litre and that on diesel by Rs 13.47 a litre in nine instalments between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell.
(Edited by Manoj Sharma)