Four states announce additional cut in fuel prices after Centre’s move

Shares of oil marketing companies fell after finance minister Arun Jaitley said that the government has asked the companies to absorb Rs 1 cut on fuel prices

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also echoed a similar view and said, "The Modi government had increased excise duty by Rs 10 per litre and today reduced it by Rs 2.50".

He said the reduction in fuel price wasn't bad economics.

"The states' revenue increases because of increased crude oil prices and hence it is easier for the states to absorb Rs 2.50", he said.

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said his government has not received any letter from Jaitley on the matter, ANI reported. "This will be a test for all state governments, especially leaders who were only offering lip service earlier", Mr Jaitley pointedly remarked.

Central Government has finally made a decision to stop the arrest of increasing Fuel Prices. When the petrol price is about to cross Rs 92 per litre, the government has reduced Rs 5 per litre.

The fuel prices across the country have been skyrocketing for a while now.The rate of normal unleaded petrol in Chennai on Thursday stood at Rs 87.33 per litre and that of diesel stood at Rs 79.79 per litre, while in Bengaluru, one litre of petrol cost Rs 84.67 per litre and diesel stood at Rs 75.84 per litre.

"Reciprocating positively to FM's announcement", Gujarat also chose to cut the tax on petrol and diesel. "Then we will also step in", Mr Issac said.

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Jaitley said he was confident of meeting the fiscal deficit target this year even though the Centre's revenue would decline by Rs 10,500 crore in 2018-19 because of the excise duty cut on fuel. Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac also announced that the government will not reduce prices at the state level.

After global oil prices fell in 2014, the Modi government raised the excise duty on petrol by Rs 11.77 a litre and on diesel by 13.47 a litre in nine instalments between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances, but then reduced the tax just once in October past year by Rs 2 a litre.

The price cut is likely to result in a loss of margin of 70-72 billion Indian rupees on auto fuel sales, according to K Ravichandran, senior vice president, corporate ratings, at ratings agency ICRA Ltd.

"Facing public ire and imminent defeat in the five election going states, Modi Government attempted to apply "band-aid" on the thousand wounds inflicted by it by massive profiteering in the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene oil, cooking gas, CNG, PNG and natural gas".

Gujarat and Maharashtra announced cuts in prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 2.5 per litre on October 4.

"If reducing oil prices is good politics, so be it", he said.

Brent crossed $86 per barrel and this is the highest in the last four years. "Each and every state has their own situation so first let the letter come", he said. On top of this, states levy value added tax (VAT) - the lowest being in Andaman and Nicobar Islands where a 6 per cent sales tax is charged on both the fuels.

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