Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Fuel prices burn hole in pockets, opposition says rates can be reduced

Fuel prices burn hole in pockets, opposition says rates can be reduced

The government may levy a windfall tax on oil producers like Oil and Natural Gas Corp. "The political difference between two oil producing countries Iran and Venezuela has been a major cause behind the rise in the price of fuel in the global market".

The revenues so collected would be used to pay fuel retailers so that they absorb spikes beyond the threshold levels, official sources said.

The centre may also give some relief in excise duty rates to give immediate relief to consumers.

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Bhamy V. Shenoy, who has been on the board of oil companies in Georgia besides being a consultant, contested the claims of former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram that petroleum prices can be reduced by ₹25 a litre.

An excise duty cut on fuel prices was to be likely announced on Wednesday after the Cabinet held meeting with Oil PSUs but no concrete step has been taken as yet and fuel prices are on a continuous rising spree.

A city-based oil expert states that a reduction in petroleum and diesel prices will adversely impact fiscal deficit and reduce availability of funding for social welfare programmes for the poor.

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Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said petrol and diesel should be brought under the Goods and Services Tax regime to curb the price hike.

Petrol prices across the four metros increased by over Rs 3 per litre in 12 days after dynamic pricing system was resumed on May 14, data on the Indian Oil Corp (IOC) website shows. For example, for one litre of petrol costing Rs 70 the Central and state taxes amounted to Rs. 36.30 and oil price came to only Rs. 33.70 = Rs. 70.

In such a precarious scenario, where inflationary trends may rear its head at any time, Pradhan's attempts at restoring normalcy has been rather hollow even if the call for including petrol and diesel in GST is not for him to make.

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The union minister said the central government had in October past year reduced the excise on fuel by Rs 2 per litre keeping in view the interest of the poor people. Many states are against this. In addition to this, the Value-Added Tax on the two auto fuels varies from State to State.

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