Fuel politics | State Times

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Fuel politics | State Times


Buoyed in anticipation of Karnataka assembly election outcome, BJP government at the Centre at last lifted the embargo on petrol and diesel prices after a 19 days political hiatus. The move come a typical Gujarat poll outcome. The prices at petrol pumps of state-owned fuel retailers like Indian Oil Corp (IOC) were cut by 1-3 paise every day in the first fortnight of December 2017 before Gujarat went to polls. The upward movement of fuel prices is somewhat like immediately after polling for assembly elections in Gujarat concluded on December 14, leading to speculation that government may have asked oil companies to hold the prices. In Karnataka’s case prices were kept in cold storage to avoid any poll fall out as for BJP Karnataka outcome is crucial on many fronts for the party stalwarts. With the Monday price revision were petrol price was hiked by 17 paise a litre while diesel by 21 paise, diesel prices have touched a record high while petrol is at a 56-month peak. Petrol and diesel prices were last revised on April 24 when they were hiked by 13 paise each. But prices were frozen thereafter. Petroleum products, along with sales of alcohol, real estate and electricity are kept out of GST. These products make most for the state exchequer. The government had in June 2010 freed petrol price from its control and the diesel rates were deregulated in October 2014. Prices have since then moved more or less in tandem with international rates barring a few exceptions like the period before a crucial election. The BJP-led government 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. Recently, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had argued that nearly a dozen countries have petrol and diesel prices higher than India. But what he didn’t tell was that why they have higher prices. Many of these countries are pushing their consumer towards cleaner fuels. India is still far from seeing this infrastructure.



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