Bharat Bandh: Rahul Gandhi slams PM Modi’s silence on fuel price hike

Andrew Cummings
September 11, 2018

The announced from the Andhra Pradesh government came on the day the oppositions, led by Congress called a nationwide shutdown in a move to protest against the several issues, including the rise in the petrol and diesel prices across India.

The costliest petrol being sold in India was in Mumbai, where it was priced at Rs 87.77 per litre.

For now, the government has been non-committal on calls to cut taxes. (Delhi - Rs 72.83; Mumbai - Rs 77.32; Chennai - Rs 76.98; Kolkata - Rs 75.68.) The petrol price on September 10 is Rs 84.06 a litre, which is higher than in all metros except Mumbai (where the price is Rs 88.12 on the day.).

The Centre on Monday ruled out an immediate reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel but indicated that it could consider options of selling NRI bonds or deposit schemes to foreigners to stem the slide in the rupee.

While a cut in excise duty that the central government levies will impact fiscal deficit, states like Bihar, Kerala, and Punjab are not in a position to cut sales tax (or VAT), the official, who wished not to be identified, said.

The official said consumers will have to pay for the fuel they use.

This is a protest against the wrong policies of PM Narendra Modi which has also led to the rupee reaching record lows, said Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala.

Nearly half of the retail selling price of the two fuels is made up of central and state taxes. "Till then dependence on oil will continue", he said.

Tamil Nadu collected Rs 3.69 crore more revenue, while West Bengal collected an additional Rs 2.06 crore in the same time period.

Explaining the division of levies on state and Centre's fiscal math, the official said that every state collects Value-Added Tax and also gets 42 per cent of the Centre's collections.

However, many feel that by attributing the price hike only on worldwide factors must be taken with a pinch of salt, the BJP government is trying to shrug away its own responsibility of bringing fuel prices under the ambit of the Goods and the Services Tax (GST).

Retail prices of fuels vary depending on local taxes, dealer commissions and the costs incurred in transporting them from refineries. This increased to Rs 16.85 per litre on September 3.

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