So, it was after all Prime Minister Modi who kept petroleum prices high
Union Ministers fell over each other to thank the Prime Minister for the ‘significant reduction’ in Excise Duty on Petrol and Diesel, thereby conceding that the PM could have reduced it earlier
Oil companies determined petrol and diesel prices, had said finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Other ministers blamed the states for the high VAT levied on petroleum prices. Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri had blamed high international prices of crude and oil producing countries for not producing enough oil for the high prices.
But by describing the reduction of excise duty by the Centre as a ‘Diwali Gift’, they appeared to concede the opposition’s point that high excise duty was more responsible for the high retail prices. By thanking the Prime Minister for the reduction, they conceded that it was he who had allowed the excise duty to remain high.
Union Ministers have been either silent or vocal in defending the high prices. Ironically, BJP supporters who were asking Indians complaining of high fuel prices to migrate to Afghanistan or Pakistan, where it is cheaper, also jumped in to thank the Prime Minister for the reduction.
“Prices go up because of market conditions but they come down because of Modi,” quipped an observer while the Congress said the message was clear. Defeat BJP and ensure cheaper fuel. The party took a swipe at the BJP and the Government for ignoring persistent demands for lowering central excise on fuel and asserted that this was the fallout of the losses BJP suffered in byelections.
Till Wednesday excise duty on petrol was Rs.32.98, which, when UPA-2 left office was just Rs.9.48 per litre. In other words, excise duty on petrol had become 348% higher than in 2014. The excise duty on diesel till Wednesday was Rs. 31.83, an increase of 894% than Rs. 3.56 in 2014. After the reduction in Excise Duty from Thursday, central excise duty on Petrol has come down to ₹27.90 and Diesel to ₹21.80.
In Delhi petrol prices fell on Thursday by ₹ 6.07 to 103.97, while diesel prices declined by ₹ 11.75 to ₹ 86.67, according to the Indian Oil Corporation. Petrol and diesel prices on Wednesday had touched an all-time high of ₹ 110.04 and ₹ 98.42 per litre respectively in Delhi after seven straight hikes.
The step to cut excise duty on fuel prices will cost the government ₹ 1.4 lakh crore annually, the government claimed. But in the past several years the central Government has mopped up an estimated Rs 6.70 lakh Crore by way of excise duty on petroleum products.
Centre collected 3.44 lakh crore as central excise duty from petroleum products in 2020-21 alone.
Here Are Petrol & Diesel Prices on Thursday: