Rising petrol prices: With Modi govt in a fix, aam aadmi offers solution in a survey
Rising petrol and diesel prices have shown no signs of abating after coming out of a 19-day-hibernation that was punctuated by Karnataka assembly election. The prices were hiked by the public sector oil marketing companies for 12th consecutive day today with the government still mulling "options" to wrest northward spiral of petrol and diesel rates in the country.
In the past three days, two senior ministers of the Narendra Modi cabinet including petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan have said that the government is looking for "permanent solution" to rising petrol and diesel prices. Their statements clearly indicate that the government is in a fix over petrol and diesel prices which are rising unabated.
Interestingly, people/voters of the country have, in an online survey, suggested a three-pronged solution to fix the rising prices of petrol and diesel. In a survey conducted by citizen engagement platform, Local Circles, 78 per cent of the participants said that VAT (value-added tax) on petrol and diesel should be lowered and fixed to minimise the impact of rising crude oil prices in the international market.
While 42 per cent of the participants said that like excise duty imposed by the Centre, the states should also levy a fixed VAT amount (instead of percentage of VAT) on petrol. Another 36 per cent said that the rate of VAT should be lowered.
The Centre charges Rs 19.48 per litre as excise duty on petrol and Rs 15.33 per litre on diesel. About 89 per cent of the respondents in the survey said that the Modi government should cut excise duty to give immediate relief to consumers.
About 41 per cent of the participants said that Centre should reduce excise duty by 30 per cent, around 26 per cent called for a cut by 20 per cent while another 22 per cent demanded a flat cut in central taxes by Rs 5 per litre on both petrol and diesel.
The aam aadmi's response calling for cut in taxes comes on the heel of three fiscal years that saw extremely positive revenue generation from petrol and diesel for the government.
India Today earlier reported that the petroleum sector's contribution to the exchequer had consistently spiked since the NDA government came to power - from Rs 3,32,620 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 5,24,304 crore in 2016-17. In the first six months of 2017-18 (April-December period), the revenue from petroleum touched Rs 3,81,803 crore - more than the revenue seen in the entire fiscal of 2014-15.
Price Flight Of Petrol And Diesel
On January 1 this year, a litre of petrol cost Rs 69.97 in Delhi. The same amount of petrol today cost Rs 77.83 per litre in Delhi. The corresponding prices for a litre of diesel in Delhi were Rs 59.70 and Rs 68.75. The rise has been particularly steep in the aftermath of Karnataka Assembly election - Rs 3.20 per litre for petrol and Rs 2.61 per litre for diesel in Delhi.
With states levying varying rates of VAT, the prices of petrol and diesel are different. Petrol is costliest in Maharashtra, which charges highest VAT on petrol. Petrol was priced at Rs 85.29 per litre in Mumbai on Thursday. This increased by 36 paise a litre to Rs 85.65 today.
Diesel is costliest in Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh imposes highest VAT rate on diesel. Cheapest petrol is available in Panjim, Goa while Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands offers cheapest diesel.