Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Fuel price: No ad hoc measures; Govt ‘working on a long-term solution’

Petrol station GETTYPrices for petrol and diesel could rise above 140p per litre
Kelvin Reese | 27 May, 2018, 00:39

Mr. Chidambaram's tweets come on a day when the Ministry of Petroleum is likely to meet the oil companies to discuss the issue of regular increase in the prices of petrol and diesel since May 12. In Delhi today, the price of petrol today was Rs 77.47 per litre while diesel was at Rs 68.53 per litre. Thus reducing the prices of petrol by INR 25 per litre.

Presently, the state government charges 20 percent Value-Added Tax and 4 percent cess on both petrol and diesel.

However, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said the Centre would soon take quick measures to give some relief to the common people from the rising fuel prices.

The government 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 a year ago by Rs2 a litre. On May 22, petrol and diesel prices were raised across the country for the ninth consecutive day as oil marketing companies (OMCs) relentlessly kept on passing on the increase in worldwide fuel prices to the consumers after a 19-day price hike freeze apparently for the Karnataka polls. The cut is likely to be in the range of Rs 2 to Rs 4 a litre, they added.

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The rise in crude prices can be contained, said Kaushik Madhavan, Director - Automotive & Transportation, MENASA at Frost & Sullivan. Basically, the problem is "taxes" which are imposed by the government on petrol and diesel. The fuel prices in the country are revised every fortnight.

According to Moody's Investors Service, ONGC and OIL could be asked to bear a part of government's fuel subsidy for oil, if prices stay above $60 per barrel for the fiscal year ending March 2019. During the Karnataka elections, oil marketing firms had opted for a freeze in prices for 19 days. This shows that higher petrol and diesel prices can not be ignored from a political viewpoint in our country.

An year before the 2014 general elections, the resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had myriad reasons to be happy as social media, which was getting increasingly powerful, took the hapless Manmohan Singh government to the cleaners. Currently, petrol is taxed at a little over 100 percent and for diesel, the taxes come at around 66.48 percent.

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