Friday, 17 August, 2018

Centre working on long-term solution to fuel prices: Pradhan

Time to get 'em working Time to get 'em working
Cristina Norman | 28 May, 2018, 14:54

Though the daily revision hike has come down marginally from over 30 paise per litre last week to 15 paise, we are yet to experience an ease in rates from the decline in oil prices globally.

Along with Delhi, prices in Mumbai and Chennai have already reached record levels and are only reaching new highs every single day. In Kolkata petrol price was at Rs 80.91, while in Chennai it was Rs 81.26. Today's diesel price in Mumbai is Rs 73.64 per litre.

The rises are due to the price of oil increasing to above $80, combined with a poor pound to dollar exchange rate of $1.33, which negatively affects the cost of fuel on the wholesale market as fuel is traded in dollars. The government needs to provide relief to consumers, complaining not only of higher crude prices but also significantly higher taxes.

As per the country's pricing mechanism, the domestic petrol prices are dependent on the global fuel price on a 15-day average. The price on Monday slipped to $75.13, which analysts have linked to the decision taken by Russia, Saudi Arabia and United States of America to increase their fuel outputs. With the West Asian situation getting uncertain, thanks also to the idiosyncrasies of US President Donald Trump, disruption in supplies and consequent pressures on crude prices can not be ruled out.

Prices of petroleum products have hit an all time high in Indian history. The central government levies excise duty on fuel and the states, Value Added Tax or VAT.

On Friday, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari recommended to bring fuel prices under the GST to curb the price hike, however, the ultimate decision remains with the petroleum ministry.

The price of petrol was increased by 15 paise per litre on Monday, taking it beyond Rs 86 in Mumbai.

The government is likely to call a meeting to find a solution to the price hike. In the face of surging crude prices since December 2016, the government has slashed excise duty only once by Rs 2 in October 2017.

He also said that the weakening of the Indian rupee against the U.S. dollar was causing the fuel price hike.

Last week, BJP President Amit Shah had said that a plan is being worked upon to check petrol prices in the country.

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