The third excise duty hike since November will help raise additional Rs 6,000 crore during remaining three months of the current fiscal as the government took advantage of a slump in global oil prices to five-year low to shore up revenue without stoking inflation.
The oil firms had yesterday skipped cutting rates of the two fuels that had become necessary as international oil rates plunged to their lowest level since May 2009.
The excise duty hike has now been set off against the reduction in rates that was due because of slide in oil prices.
The slump in global oil rates had warranted a price cut of Rs 3.22 per litre in petrol and about Rs 3 in diesel and even after adjusting the excise increase, oil firms will have a neat margin of over Re 1 per litre.
"In order to fund the ambitious infrastructure development programme of the government, particularly the building of 15,000-km of roads, during current and next financial year, the government has decided to increase basic excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre," an official statement said.
Together with Rs 1.50 a litre excise duty hike effected on both products from November 12 and Rs 2.25 per litre increase in duty on petrol and Re 1 on diesel from December 2, the government will mop up about Rs 17,000 crore this fiscal to contain fiscal deficit.
"Allocation of these resources to the road sector will also spur economic activity and employment generation arising from the road construction sector," the statement said.