'Petrol, diesel prices may stay high in immediate future': 10 points
Posted: May 24, 2018
Current Affairs News: Petrol and diesel will continue to burn a hole in your pocket as Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Kumar Surana has told news agencies that fuel prices might remain high in the immediate future. Petrol prices in the country's financial capital, Mumbai, touched Rs 84.99 a litre on Wednesday, while the fuel's price inched higher to a new record of Rs 77.17 in Delhi. In Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai, diesel was sold at Rs 68.34, Rs 70.89, Rs 72.76, and Rs 72.14 per litre, respectively.
As of Wednesday, one trigger after another had led to the 10th consecutive day of increase in retail selling price of petrol and diesel. As frustrations mounted across the country, Union Law & Justice, Electronics, and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said that the Narendra Modi government was working on a long-term plan to tame fuel prices. "Instead of an ad-hoc measure, the government wants to have a long-term view that addresses not only volatility but also takes care of the unnecessary ambiguity arising out of frequent ups and downs," Prasad said.
The government has come under attack from the Opposition as fuel prices have gone up day after day. Former finance minister P Chidambaram claimed that the rates could be reduced by Rs 25 per litre but the government was not doing so. "It is possible to cut up to Rs 25 per litre, but the government will not. They will cheat the people by cutting price by Re 1 or Rs 2 per litre of petrol," he said in a Tweet.
Petrol prices in Mumbai touched Rs 84.99 a litre on Wednesday, while diesel was sold at Rs 72.76 per litre.
To shore up finances as global oil prices fell, the government had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016. Subsequently, the government had cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre. Subsequent to that excise duty reduction, the Centre had asked states to also lower VAT. Just four of them -- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh -- reduced rates, while others, including BJP-ruled ones, ignored the call.
In all, duty on petrol rate was hiked by Rs 11.77 and that on diesel by Rs 13.47 a litre in those 15 months. This helped government's excise mop up more than double to Rs 2.42 trillion (Rs 2,42,000 crore) in 2016-17 from Rs 990 billion (Rs 99,000 crore) in 2014-15.
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