Oil marketing companies have once again raised petrol and diesel prices for fifth consecutive on Sunday. Price of petrol and diesel in Delhi have now jumped to Rs 107.59 per litre and Rs 96.32 per litre respectively. Petrol and diesel prices per litre are at Rs 113.46 and Rs 104.38 in Mumbai, Rs 108.11 & Rs 99.43 in Kolkata; Rs 104.52 & Rs 100.59 in Chennai respectively.The latest increase that follows the unrelenting hike in international oil prices has pushed pump rates across the country to their highest-ever levels. While petrol is above Rs 100-a-litre-mark in all major cities, diesel has crossed that level in more than a dozen states.
The government had raised excise duty on petrol and diesel to mop up gains that would have otherwise accrued to consumers from international oil prices crashing to as low as USD 19 per barrel. While international prices have since recovered to USD 85, excise duty has remained at Rs 32.9 per litre on petrol and Rs 31.8 on diesel.
Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday equated demand for cutting excise duty to ‘axing one’s own feet’, saying such levies funded government schemes to provide free COVID-19 vaccines, meals and cooking gas to millions amid the pandemic.”I think this simplistic political narrative we get in India (that), ‘prices have gone up, why don’t you reduce your taxes’… so every time price goes up due to something else, it says you axe your own feet in the process,” he had said late on Friday.
Opposition parties including Congress have been critical of the government over the price hikes and have demanded a reduction in taxes. Meanwhile, Congress said that it will launch massive agitation against fuel price hike from Nov 14-29.