Domestic gasoline and diesel prices can take a while to fall unless the government takes action to cut fuel taxes. But that doesn’t seem to be going very quickly, as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was not committed to cutting excise duties on gasoline and diesel.
Gasoline and diesel, as well as cooking gas and kerosene, were sold at subsidized prices during the previous Congress-led UPA administration. Instead of paying the subsidy, the then government issued oil bonds for a total of ₹1.34 lakh crore to state fuel retailers. These oil bonds and the interest on them are now being paid.
“If I hadn’t had the burden of servicing the oil bonds, I would have been able to lower the excise tax on fuel,” PTI quoted Sitharaman as saying.
“Previous governments have made our job difficult by issuing oil bonds. Even if I want to do something, I pay for the oil bonds through my nose,” she added.
Sitharaman said the center has kept the option open to include petroleum products in the goods and services tax (GST). “If states agree on it, it can be brought under the GST.”
Inclusion in the GST would mean combining excise duties and value added tax (levied by states) into one tax. This would help curb the tax’s cascading impact on tax (VAT is levied on excise duties).
Gasoline and diesel prices remained unchanged today (August 17, 2021) for the 31st day in a row in all four subways. Gasoline prices remained stable ₹ 101.84 per liter and diesel prices remained unchanged ₹ 89.87 per liter in Delhi, according to the Indian Oil Corporation. In Mumbai the gasoline prices were included ₹ 107.83 per liter, while diesel is sold too ₹97.45 per liter.
Fuel prices have risen since May as state oil marketing companies (OMCs) increased the frequency of price increases due to firmer international crude oil prices.
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