"All Chief Ministers On Test Now", Says Arun Jaitley, Cutting Fuel Price
04 October, 2018, 19:13 | Author: Mary Valdez
After the minister's announcement, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra too announced a reduction in fuel prices.
Among other state-run companies, shares in Hindustan Petroleum Corp closed down 13.5 percent, and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd lost 12.4 percent.
Alleging over "Rs 13-lakh-crore fuel loot" through the imposition of heavy excise duty on petrol and diesel and an equal amount through Value-Added Tax by BJP-ruled states, he said the people "cannot be befooled" anymore by the government and demanded answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. "This will be a test for all state governments, especially leaders who were only offering lip service earlier", Mr Jaitley pointedly remarked. "What will they do now?"
By lowering duties, the Narendra Modi government is borrowing a page from the rulebook of past governments that have lowered levies whenever worldwide oil prices shot up. "Then we will also step in", Mr Issac said. Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac also announced that the government will not reduce prices at the state level.
Petrol prices were Thursday hiked by 15 paise a litre and diesel by 20 paise, according to price notification of state-owned oil firms.
Since the government came to power in May 2014, it has used tax increases on petrol and diesel prices to raise funds for welfare programmes.
The fuel prices had been going up every day for last few weeks, burning a hole in people's pockets.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram termed the decision as "tokenism". A high-level meeting convened by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a decision to reduce the Excise Duty by 1.50 Rupees.
On Thursday, petrol and diesel prices in Delhi were Rs 84 per litre (increase by Rs 0.15) & Rs 75.45 per litre (increase by Rs 0.20) while in Mumbai, they were Rs 91.34 litre (increase by Rs 0.14) & Rs 80.10 (increase by Rs 0.21), respectively.
India stopped controlling petrol prices in 2010 and diesel prices in 2014, linking them to global crude markets in a bid to ease pressure on government finances and improve the earnings of oil refiners.
However the opposition-ruled states refused to toe the Centre's line.
Concerned over the spike in fuel prices, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to look at options to mitigate its impact on the economy, sources aware of the discussion said.
The states have reduced the sales tax and VAT charged on diesel and petrol. However, apart from Karnataka, Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal and BJP-ruled Rajasthan had given relief on fuel prices last month.
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