Indian government on Friday was slammed for playing a cruel joke on consumers by first announcing cuts in retail prices of petrol and diesel before hiking excise duty in petroleum products two hours later.
The hike in excise duty meant that effective prices of petrol and diesel are now more costlier than before.
Petrol price on Friday cut by 32 paise a litre and diesel’s by 85 paise a litre in the wake of softening global oil prices.
However, within two hours of this announcement, Modi government announced it was hiking excise duty on petrol and diesel by 75 paise and Rs 1.83 per litre respectively.
As expected, Congress party was quick to slam the government dubbing it as a cruel joke on consumers.
This despite the crude oil prices slumping to 12-year low of under USD 30 per barrel in international market.
This is the third time in less than a month that government has hiked excise duty on diesel and petrol.
The government had on 17 December raised excise duty on petrol by 30 paise and that on diesel by Rs 1.17 per litre.
This was followed by a 37 paise increase in the levy on petrol from 3 January and Rs 2 per litre on diesel.
The two duty hikes took away from customers benefit of 67 paise lower petrol price and Rs 3.17 a litre lower diesel rate but gave the government Rs 6,800 crore in additional revenue during the remainder of current fiscal.
“The current level of international product prices of petrol and diesel and Rupee-US Dollar exchange rate warrant a decrease in prices, the impact of which is being passed on to the consumers with this price revision,” a statement from the IOC was quoted by PTI.
State-owned fuel retailers IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) revise rates of petrol and diesel on 1st and 16th of every month based on average oil price and foreign exchange rate in the preceding fortnight.
“The movement of prices in the international oil market and Rupee-USD exchange rate shall continue to be monitored closely and developing trends of the market will be reflected in future price changes,” the statement added.
Political parties aside, the significant hike in excise duty hasn’t gone down well with social media users too.
Here’s what they had to say:
— R. Balakrishnan (@BalakrishnanR) January 15, 2016
— K Kumar (@Yr_Conscience) January 15, 2016
The excise duty hike minister strikes again. Such lack of ideas. One of these days I may just say bring back Chidambaram
— Vivek (@kaul_vivek) January 15, 2016
Ohh.. we unfortunate Indians
still pay very hefty price 4petrol/Diesel..
Thanks 2Modi 4..
Hiking Excise duty 8times https://t.co/0xO69pQbQR
— Indrajith (@Balaindrajith) January 6, 2016