High oil prices may spoil party for BJP in 2019

Petrol Diesel prices to decline as crude oil prices drop internationally

According to the data available on the Indian Oil website, petrol prices were increased by 15 paise while diesel prices were hiked by 11 to 12 paise in various major cities of the country.

Petrol and diesel prices across the country were raised for the 15th straight day today with Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) passing on the increase in global fuel prices to the consumers.

The levy will, however, be confined to crude produced from domestic fields. A similar tax was considered in 2008 when oil prices were on the rise but the idea was dropped after stiff opposition from private sector firms like Cairn India.

Around 18 per cent of the crude used by India is drilled domestically, but the price of this domestic crude is fixed in line with worldwide prices. 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. "There is ample scope to provide relief to consumers even if only Centre takes the forward step and cuts excise duty". When worldwide crude oil price was declining between November 2014 to February 2016, the government had raised excise duty on petrol and diesel by nine times to boost its revenue. Though UPA lost elections on several other issues in 2014, its inability to control fuel prices played a big role.

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"When crude prices were falling from November 2014, the repeated increase of duty was a strategic error of the government".

When asked whether petrol and diesel would be brought under the ambit of Good and Services Tax (GST), Pradhan underscored that the aspect was being considered by the Centre.

As the Modi government completed 4 years in office, the price of fuel continues to rise. We should remember that NDA government raised excise duty on nine occasions between November 2014 and January 2016 increasing its excise collections from mere Rs 99,184 crore in FY 15 to Rs 2,42,691 crore on FY17 and nearly similar collections in FY 18.

'The supermarkets are being very quick to pass on increases in the wholesale price - they are far faster at passing on rises than falls.

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