Published: Tue, September 11, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Fuel Prices Increased. Left declares Bharat Bandh on Monday

Fuel Prices Increased. Left declares Bharat Bandh on Monday

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley remained evasive on the issue of cutting down excise duty to cushion the spiralling petrol and diesel prices, adding that worldwide oil prices are volatile and have not shown any linear movement. It said 21 opposition parties are supporting the Bharat bandh, besides a number of chambers of commerce and traders' associations. The percentage increase was 20.5. The Central government had raised excise duty on petrol by Rs 11.77 a litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre in nine installments between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October past year by Rs 2 a litre.

Here is one aspect that Left parties who are in the forefront of the nationwide hartal against the galloping fuel prices on Monday should ponder.

Petrol increased to Rs 88.12 per litre and diesel at Rs 77.32 per litre (increase by Rs 0.23 per litre) in Mumbai, the day Congress called Bharat Bandh over the rise in fuel prices.

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The fuel rates have been on fire since mid-August, rising nearly every day due to a drop in rupee value and rise in crude oil rates. Nearly half of the retail selling price of petrol and diesel is made up of central and state taxes. "Why is the common man being made to pay the price for the miscalculations on part of the Central government?" asked the MNS president.

Nonetheless, given the transportation cost, the fuel prices in Kerala are higher than even states where there is a higher sales tax.

"Between 2014 and now, excise duty on petrol has risen by 211.7 per cent and 433 per cent on diesel". The tax imposed by the Centre on petrol (including customs and excise duties, and other cesses) is 52.75 per cent, and on diesel is 38.53 per cent. If petroleum prices are brought within GST, it will help in two ways. This led to its excise collections from petro goods more than doubling in the last four years - from Rs 99,184 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 2,29,019 crore in 2017-18. "Similarly, the excise duty on diesel was Rs 3.46 per litre and today it stands at Rs 15.33 per litre", he said. So states get Rs 30 out of Rs 42 collected as taxes.

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