Despite the cost of fuel across India hitting a 55-month high, the Centre does not plan to reduce excise duty on petrol and diesel for now. Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra told PTI in an interview published on Tuesday that the prices have not yet reached the levels that could trigger such an action.
State oil firms have not revised the price of petrol and diesel since April 24, when it touched a 55-month high. On Tuesday, petrol cost Rs 74.63 per litre in Delhi, according to Indian Oil. In Kolkata, it was priced at Rs 77.32, in Mumbai at Rs 82.48, and in Chennai it was Rs 77.43. Diesel rates also touched a record high of Rs 65.93 in Delhi. In Kolkata, the price was Rs 68.63, in Mumbai at Rs 70.20, and Rs 69.56 in Chennai.
The government would need to rethink its policy on excise duty on petrol and diesel “if crude oil prices reach a certain level”, Garg said. “That’s not happened so far.” He did not state what level of crude oil prices would prompt the government to cut excise duty. He added that every rupee cut in the excise duty on fuel will lead to a revenue loss of Rs 13,000 crore.
Garg did not comment on a question about whether the upcoming Assembly elections in Karnataka were responsible for the oil firms not increasing the rates in a week. “We have not seen anything [on it],” he said.
India has the highest retail prices of petrol and diesel among South Asian nations as taxes account for half of the pump rates. The government raised the excise duty on fuel nine times between November 2014 and January 2016, but then cut the tax by Rs 2 a litre in October 2017.
On April 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on oil-producing countries to ensure “reasonable and responsible pricing” that will make energy accessible and affordable to all.
In June 2017, state-owned oil companies such as Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation discontinued a 15-year practice of revising rates every fortnight and switched to daily revisions.