The fuel price cut decision is only the latest in India's government efforts to cushion the blow from rising oil prices.
Acting quickly on the orders of the BJP president, the party-ruled governments in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Tripura announced a Rs 2.50 cut in Value-Added Tax on the fuels.
Speaking on the reason for price cut, the Finance Minister said that there has been a significant impact of higher interest rates in the United States and crude oil prices on rising fuel prices in the country.
Maharashtra's Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has just announced an additional relief of Rs 2.5/litre resulting in a total Rs 5/litre drop in petrol prices.
Jharkhand government chose to give an additional relief of Rs 2.5/litre on diesel in the state, Chief Minister Raghubar Das said on Twitter.
For state-owned fuel retailers absorbing Re 1 per litre price would mean about Rs 10,700 crore dent in their revenue on an annualised basis.
"We are writing to the state governments that as the central government is cutting Rs 2.50 on both petrol and diesel, they do the same", he added.
Jaitley said the move followed Brent crude oil touching four-year high of United States dollars 86 a barrel Wednesday and interest rates in USA reaching seven-year high. Prices have seen a similar hike in other cities as well.
The decision was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting of the finance and the petroleum ministries.
He said that Kerala would not reduce the tax on petroleum products as it would adversely affect the revenue of the state.
Immediately after the announcement that Oil Marketing companies will absorb Rs 1 per litre as their contribution to make petrol/diesel cheaper, share prices of Indian Oil, HPCL and BPCL tanked by upto 11% in the share market.
"Even when the prices go up, the Centre receives a fixed amount per litre, whereas the revenue of states goes up". The centre now levies a total of Rs 19.48 per litre of excise duty on petrol and Rs 15.33 per litre on diesel. Brent crossed $86 per barrel and this is the highest in the last four years.
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