1 paisa cut in petrol prices fuels public anger
1 paisa cut in petrol prices fuels public angerET Bureau|May 31, 2018, 07.32 AM ISTNew Delhi: A âtechnical glitchâ on IndianOilâs website turned into a public relations headache for the government on Wednesday as social media responded with a mixture of sarcasm and fury after a 60 paise per litre reduction in fuel prices turned into a cut of just 1 paisa a litre. This came after prices had risen relentlessly for 16 days in a row as crude rose and the rupee weakened. To be sure, with both those trends set to reverse, fuel prices should decline, experts said.
The Centre ha s been resisting the clamour for duty cuts to rein in surging prices. Officials have talked about introducing some âlong-termâ solution without giving details.
Indian Oil Corpâs website, the key source of fuel pricing information, showed that petrol and diesel rates had been cut by 60 paise and 56 paise a litre, respectively, on Wednesday morning. But by 11 am, the company clarified that the wrong prices had been initially posted.
Once customers realised this, relief turned into frustration, with consumers taking to social media to target the government for its inability to keep prices down. Politicians were quick to chime in.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, âDear PM, Youâve cut the price of Petrol and Diesel today by 1paisa. ONE paisa!?? If this is your idea of a prank, itâs childish and in poor taste. P.S. A ONE paisa cut is not a suitable response to the #FuelChallenge I threw you last week.â
Incidentally, the error was confined to the w ebsite and wasnât transmitted to dealers â" so consumers were charged the right price. IndianOil also escaped social media censure with the brunt of the ire being borne by the government. To be sure, the reduction â" albeit by just one paisa â" broke a rising trend. Petrol and diesel were sold for Rs 78.42 and Rs 69.30 per litre in Delhi on Wednesday. Petrol is up Rs 3.79 and diesel Rs 3.37 per litre since May 13.
Prices vary widely across India as states impose their own levies since fuel is not under the purview of the goods and services tax (GST). In Mumbai, petrol cost Rs 86.23 per litre and diesel was Rs 73.78 on Wednesday. Kerala, in fact, reduced sales tax on petrol diesel to lower the price by Rs 1 per litre.
Fuel prices are based on global rates and also factor in exchange rates. They have begun a decline in the inte rnational market while the rupee has strengthened in the last few days, indicates that local fuel rates can only drop in the coming days.
Crude prices have declined to about $75 a barrel from $80 last week on hopes that key oil producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia will boost supplies to calm runaway prices, which if left unchecked could lead to demand destruction. Local fuel rates reflect international prices with a lag of about two weeks.
Global crude prices have risen by two-thirds in 11 months. In India, petrol and diesel are heavily taxed, with central and state taxes comprising about half the retail price. The Kerala government drove home the point that it would be sacrificing revenue.
âAnother second anniversary gift to the people: The sales tax on petrol reduced by 1.69% and diesel by 1.75% in Kerala. The retail prices to decline by 1Rupee. State govt to forego revenue of Rs 500 crore annually. Now will PM Modi be willing to roll back his tax hike?â t weeted TM Thomas Isaac, Keralaâs finance minister.
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