New Delhi:The government on Tuesday increased excise duty for second time on petrol and diesel, robbing consumers a chance to further benefit from the fall in international crude oil prices. If a section of government is trying to argue that people have been spared of a hike in fuel prices despite increasing the excise duty, some in the petroleum ministry
pointed out that the nation was “robbed” of a further cut in petrol and diesel prices following a drastic fall in international oil prices. Instead of providing a further relief the government, which is struggling to bring down the fiscal deficit, has decided to corner the gains by hiking excise duty on petrol by Rs 2.25 anddiesel by Rs1 a litre. This is the second hike in excise duty in three weeks.
On November 12, the government had raised excise duty on these two fuels of mass consumption by Rs 1.50 a litre. Following the move, the customer is not likely to get the “full benefit” of falling of international prices of crude oil but will have to shell out more as prices of crude go up in the international market. The hike in excise duty is expected to yield an additional Rs 4,000 core in the remaining part of the current fiscal. This is in addition to Rs 6000 crore which went to the government exchequer from earlier increase in excise duty.
The Opposition attacked the government for increasing excise duty.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Mini-ster Omar Abdullah twitted: “International oil pri-ces dip but the consumer does not benefit because this NDA govt hikes taxes by an even greater amount.”Meanwhile, Indian Oil Corp chairman B. Ashok claimed that this excise duty hike is not being passed on to the consumers. “Since we had revised petrol and diesel prices on Monday itself, we decided a change so soon is not warranted.
We are absorbing the excise duty increase for now. We are keeping track of the scenario and will take appropriate steps as the situation warrants at the next revision (due in mid-December),” he added. Excise duty on unbranded petrol has been hiked from Rs 2.70 per litre to Rs 4.95 a litre and on unbranded diesel from Rs 2.96 a litre to Rs3.96, parliament was informed on Tuesday.