The rate of crude oil was mixed in Asian markets on Tuesday, after a reduction in prices over the last three days. The price of Brent crude oil was higher than the previous close, while that of the West Texas Intermediate variety declined. This was triggered by speculation that Saudi Arabia and Russia would increase their output to ease a probable shortfall in supply, Reuters reported.
On Monday, NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Rajiv Kumar had recommended that the Centre and states reduce taxes on fuel, and that petrol and diesel prices be brought under the purview of the Goods and Services Tax, NDTV reported. Kumar refuted predictions that crude oil would reach $100 per barrel by the end of the year. He also forecast a reduction in fuel prices as a result of the recent fall in international crude oil prices.
State-run oil companies had resumed the dynamic pricing mechanism on May 14 after stable prices for 19 days. Retail prices were frozen between April 24 and May 13, when campaigning was on for the Karnataka Assembly elections.
International crude oil prices had risen in the period, while the rupee fell against the United States dollar – both factors make the fuels costlier. Oil companies are estimated to have lost about Rs 500 crore because of the price freeze for three weeks, PTI reported.
On Tuesday, the price of petrol per litre was Rs 78.43 in Delhi, Rs 81.06 in Kolkata, and Rs 81.43 in Chennai. Diesel was sold at Rs 69.31 a litre in Delhi, Rs 71.86 in Kolkata and Rs 73.18 in Chennai.
On May 24, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan had said the Centre is considering bringing petroleum products under the purview of the Goods and Services Tax. Earlier, he had said the Centre is deliberating on an “immediate solution” to control rising fuel prices.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised the Narendra Modi government’s handling of the price surge. “Fuel prices are increasing again and again,” Banerjee tweeted. “All are being badly affected: agriculture, transport and common people are being forced to bear burden. In spite of the grim situation, why isn’t the central government taking any serious steps to find a solution?”