Consumers and tax analysts alike were expecting an excise duty cut in the Budget to offset the rising oil prices.
The Centre on Thursday announced that the excise duty cut of Rs 2 announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will have no impact on petrol and diesel prices. "This is jumlanomics. The announcement to cut excise duty on petrol was fraudulent as the government has silently hiked the cess on fuel", said CPM chief Sitaram Yechury. The government had in November 2015 and January 2016 raised excise duty on petrol and diesel five times to take away gains arising from plummeting worldwide oil prices. "This proves our stand that the BJP has always been in favour of capitalists", Siddaramaiah, who also holds the finance portfolio, said.
OGRA has proposed Rs10.25 per litre, SKO Rs12.74 per litre and LDO Rs11.72 per litre on the basis of hike in prices of petroleum products in the worldwide market.
Opposition was quick to target the Finance Minister, accusing him of deceiving the public by his announcement of excise duty cuts. This decision of the government will not provide any relief in the prices of petrol and diesel. Diesel is widely used in transport and agriculture sector, and therefore, increase in its price would increase the input cost of farmers.
The latest uptick in crude price follows comments from Saudi Arabia that major oil producers were in agreement that they should continue cooperating on production after their deal on supply cuts expires at the end of 2018. Declining drilling activity for new oil production in the United States has further supported crude prices.
If the central kitty shrinks because of the reclassification of tax structure of petrol and diesel - two most trusted sources of generating revenue without leakage - states like Bengal will be forced to ramp up own tax revenue or borrow more from the market, increasing indebtedness. The new prices of diesel and kerosene will be Rs95.83 and Rs70.26 respectively. The government, however, may choose to levy an additional cess on diesel and petrol.
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