Cut in petrol, diesel prices shows government's sensitiveness: Shah

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

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has also announced that the government will ask the Oil Companies to reduce the Prices by another One Rupee. The state government has made a decision to reduce the value added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel to effect a Rs 2.50 per litre reduction in fuel prices in order to facilitate the general public, he was quoted as saying in a report by IANS.

Chhattisgarh, Assam and Tripura also reduced the fuel prices by Rs 2.50 per litre, while Andhra Pradesh and flood-hit Kerala refused the centre's request. Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac also announced that the government will not reduce prices at the state level.

Following Centre's move, Maharashtra government has also announced a Rs 2.5 reduction on the petrol.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed it was a "panic reaction" by the government after facing public ire and an "imminent defeat" for the BJP in upcoming assembly elections in five states, and said the step will bring little relief to the people as it is like "reducing death sentence to life imprisonment".

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"The government's capacity to provide relief is only when domestic factors are strong", he said. Banerjee claimed that fuel prices were reduced in the global market and asked why these were increasing in the country. In a tweet he said, "Madhya Pradesh has also reduced VAT [Value Added Tax] on fuel as a result of which the people will get a relief of Rs 5".

"Ever since Modi government assumed power it raised excise duty on diesel by Rs 14 and petrol by Rs 9 per litre".

Jaitley said the move followed Brent crude oil touching four-year high of Dollars 86 a barrel Wednesday and interest rates in U.S. reaching seven-year high.

"Except for the Current Account Deficit (CAD), which is directly linked to oil prices, all other data are encouraging, " he said. "So, a total of Rs.2.50 will be reduced on both diesel and petrol", said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

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The decision was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting of the finance and the petroleum ministries.

Petrol pumps in the national capital used to cater to customers from neighbouring suburbs as fuel prices in Delhi were always cheaper than those in the adjacent states.

"Even when the prices go up, the Centre receives a fixed amount per litre, whereas the revenue of states goes up". On similar lines, Odisha finance minister Shashi Bhushan Behera said the state will not immediately reduce Value-Added Tax on fuel and will examine the Centre's request.

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