Hitting back at the Opposition parties’ charge that fuel prices in India are higher than the neighbouring countries of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Government has said that despite 33 per cent rise in international crude oil prices since January 2022, rates are relatively lower in the country.
Highly placed sources said that though the Centre had cut excise duty on petrol and diesel on November 4, 2021 by Rs 5 and Rs 10 per litre respectively, eight of the top 10 states with highest petrol and diesel prices are governed by non-BJP parties.
Sources further informed that seven Opposition states namely Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Jharkhand have not reduced their fuel prices and in fact, have earned an extra Rs 11,945 crore as compared to states that had cut rates.
They further said that while the Centre has lost revenue worth Rs 1 lakh crore a year due to tax cuts on fuel and states that had cut their own VAT rates have lost Rs 15,969 crore, the above mentioned Opposition states earned surplus revenue.
As far as lower prices in neighbouring countries are concerned, sources pointed out that it could be a result of populist measures taken by their respective governments.
The severe economic problems being faced in some of these countries are known to all, they pointed out, adding that it goes on show that such a strategy would not be appropriate for India to copy.
Official sources said that the price of the crude oil available to India for import has grown from $63.4 a barrel in April 2021 to $112.87 a barrel in March 2022. This is a 78 per cent increase in one year.
Also there has been a 33 per cent increase in crude oil prices for India since January 2022 itself due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
However, in comparison to other major economies that do not produce their own oil, fuel prices in India have remained relatively lower.
The petrol and diesel price in India is the second-lowest among other comparable nations heavily dependent on oil imports such as Netherland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Italy, Spain, France, South Korea and Japan, sources informed.