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06 October 2018, 10:27 | Joann Bryant
The cut in fuel prices will cost the exchequer Rs 10,500 for the remaining half of this financial year
After months of torturing the general public with soaring fuel prices, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely on Thursday announced a petty reduction of Rs 2.5 per litre on both diesel and petrol prices across the country.
The cut includes a reduction in excise duty of 1.50 rupees per litre, which will reduce government revenue by 105 billion rupees, Jaitley said.
Jaitley has also asked state governments to follow suit by cutting a sales tax or VAT by a similar amount.
However, the central leadership had asked the party rank and file to explain to the people that fuel prices are steep because of crude oil prices heating up in the worldwide market, but the rate of inflation has remained below 4 per cent during the Modi government's tenure. The Gujarat Chief Minister tweeted that it has matched the central government's reduction, and that petrol and diesel are now cheaper by Rs 5 per litre.
The price cut sparked fears of the country going back toward the regulated regime where the prices of diesel and petrol were controlled by the government.
In New Delhi, petrol prices rose by 15 paise to Rs 84 a litre while diesel prices increased by 20 paise to Rs 75.45 per litre. "This time if other state governments do not do it then people will ask them", he said. Petrol prices were regulated until 2012, while diesel prices remained so until 2014. The Modi government has raised it to Rs 19.48 per litre. HPCL shares fell 14.7% to Rs 214.40, BPCL was down 17.08% at Rs 313 and Indian Oil dived 14.23% to Rs 134.95.
Brent oil on Wednesday crossed $86 per barrel, which is the highest in the last four years, and rising interest rates in the USA have a significant impact across global markets, said Jaitley. The move includes an excise duty cut of Rs 1.5 per litre by the Central government and oil marketing companies absorbing another Re 1 per litre.
"I hope all state governments do this, and they announce this so that consumers benefit by 5 rupees", Jaitley told reporters. This means that petrol will continue to be expensive in Delhi.
Jaitley said the impact of the excise duty cut on the Centre's revenues would be about Rs 21,000 crore in a full year and Rs 10,500 crore in the remainder of the current financial year.
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