New Delhi: Petrol price on Monday hit Rs 74.50 a litre - the highest level under the BJP-led government, while diesel rates touched a record high of Rs 65.75, renewing calls for cut in excise duty to ease burden on consumers.
Petrol and diesel prices were hiked by 10 paise, according to an Indian oil price notification. State-owned oil firms have been revising auto fuel prices daily since June last year. Under the dynamic pricing scheme, petrol and diesel prices are revised on a daily basis in sync with global crude oil prices.
Both petrol and diesel prices are the highest since September 14, 2013 when rates had hit Rs 76.06. Diesel price at Rs 65.65 are the highest ever.
Oil Ministry had earlier this year sought a reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel to cushion the impact arising out of international oil rates but Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget presented on February 1 made no concessions.
India has the highest retail prices of petrol and diesel among South Asian nations as taxes account for half of the pump rates.
Jaitley had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre.
Subsequent to that excise duty reduction, the Centre had asked states to also lower VAT but just four of them - Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh reduced rates while others including BJP-ruled ones ignored the call.
The Central government had cut excise duty by Rs 2 per litre in October 2017, when petrol price reached Rs 70.88 per litre in Delhi and diesel Rs. 59.14. Because of the reduction in excise duty, diesel prices had on October 4, 2017 came down to Rs 56.89 per litre and petrol to Rs 68.38 per litre. However, a global rally in crude prices pushed domestic fuel prices far higher than those levels.
The October 2017 excise duty cut cost the government Rs. 26,000 crore in annual revenue and about Rs. 13,000 crore during the remaining part of the current fiscal year.
The government had between November 2014 and January 2016 raised excise duty on petrol and diesel on nine occasions to take away gains arising from plummeting global oil prices.
In all, duty on petrol rate was hiked by Rs 11.77 per litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre in those 15 months that helped government's excise mop up more than double to Rs 242,000 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 99,000 crore in 2014-15.
With PTI Inputs