Updated: April 22, 2018 1:35:33 pm
Petrol prices on Sunday touched Rs 74.40 per litre, the highest under the BJP led government since 2014. Meanwhile, diesel rates soared to a record high of Rs 65.65 in the national capital. Under the daily price revision by oil companies, prices of both petrol and diesel were hiked by 19 paise each on the intervening midnight of April 21-22.
The hike in prices comes on the back of a rise in international oil prices by 13 paise over petrol and 15 paise on diesel. The current rate of Rs 74.40 per litre is highest since September 2013 when the rates touched Rs 76.06.
The hike in fuel prices has once again given way to demands of slashing excise duty. The finance ministry has so far ignored such calls. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley did not provide any respite in the Union Budget over fuel price hike despite demands to cut down prices owing to global crude oil cues. India has the highest retail prices of petrol and diesel among South Asian nations as taxes account for half of the pump rates. Jaitley had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre.
The October 2017 excise duty cut cost the government Rs 26,000 crore in annual revenue and about Rs 13,000 crore during the remaining part of the current fiscal year. The government had between November 2014 and January 2016 raised excise duty on petrol and diesel on nine occasions to take away gains arising from plummeting global oil prices.
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