The government on Thursday announced a Rs 2.50 per litre cut in petrol and diesel prices - comprising an excise duty reduction of Rs 1.50 per litre and a Re 1 reduction at the oil companies' end. He said that the central government will reduce excise duty by Rs 1.5 while oil companies will absorb the remainder. The state government has chose to reduce the value added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel to effect a Rs 2.50 per litre reduction in fuel prices in order to facilitate the general public, he was quoted as saying in a report by IANS.
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh were the 11 to match the Centre's rate cut.
While all other states effected the cut on both petrol and diesel, the Maharashtra government has slashed prices only on petrol and is considering a similar cut on diesel. "The state did it before the central government did", he said.
Global crude prices hit near 4-year highs on Wednesday, and a weak rupee has added to the woes of Indians, who have been hit by record high fuel prices. However, India's domestic indicators are quite strong and stable.
Nearly half of the fuel price is made up of taxes.
For state-owned fuel retailers absorbing Re 1 per litre price would mean about Rs 10,700 crore dent in their revenue on an annualised basis.
Petrol, diesel prices across the country scaled new heights on Thursday, with diesel prices reaching Rs 80.10 per litre and petrol reaching Rs 91.34 per litre in Mumbai.
The hike pushed petrol price in Delhi to an all-time high of Rs 84 per litre and diesel to Rs 75.45.
Brent oil on Wednesday crossed $86 per barrel, which is the highest in the last four years, and rising interest rates in the United States have a significant impact across global markets, said Jaitley.
Soon after the announcement, several BJP-ruled states followed the suit and gave an overall relief of Rs 5 per litre.
The decision was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting of the finance and the petroleum ministries.
Rajasthan had last month cut its state Value-Added Tax by ₹2.5 per litre, while Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh both had cut their Value-Added Tax rates by ₹2 per litre.
Jaitley further mentioned that the excise duty cut of Rs 1.50 will put a burden of Rs 10,500 crore on the government for the remainder of the fiscal, which is only 0.05 per cent of the fiscal deficit.
"Even when the prices go up, the Centre receives a fixed amount per litre, whereas the revenue of states goes up". Brent crossed $86 per barrel and this is the highest in the last four years.
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