New Delhi: Petrol price was on Friday cut by 32 paise per litre and diesel rate lowered by 85 paise per litre even as the government hiked excise duty on both the fuels for the second time this month to raise an additional Rs 3,700 crore in its bid to achieve the targeted fiscal deficit.
The reduction in the price of petrol and diesel is much lower than what crude oil prices - which have fallen to below $30 per barrel - had warranted. The gains were taken away by government which hiked the excise duty on petrol by 75 paise per litre and on diesel by Rs 2 per litre.
After the fourth reduction in rates in six weeks, petrol in Delhi will cost Rs 59.03 per litre with effect from the midnight of January 15 and January 16 as against Rs 59.35 per litre currently. A litre of diesel will cost Rs 44.18 as against Rs 45.03 currently, said Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the country's biggest fuel retailer.
The excise duty hike - the second this month and fourth since November 2014 - would net the government an additional Rs 3,700 crore during the remainder of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016.
Basic excise duty on unbranded or 'normal' petrol has been increased from Rs 7.73 per litre to Rs 8.48 while that on unbranded diesel raised from Rs 7.83 to Rs 9.83 per litre, a notification by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) said.
The government had last raised excise duty on petrol by Rs 0.37 per litre and on diesel by Rs 2 a litre from January 3 to mop up Rs 4,300 crore. It had from December 17 raised excise duty on petrol by Rs 0.30 per litre and on diesel by Rs 1.17 a litre to garner Rs 2,500 crore.
Taken together with the November 7, 2015 increase in excise duty on petrol and diesel to raise Rs 3,200 crore, this is the third hike in levies this fiscal year. The four excise duty hikes would net the government an additional Rs 13,700 crore.
Friday's reduction in petrol and diesel price is the fourth reduction in rates since December 1. Rates were on that day cut by 58 paise per litre in the case of petrol and 25 paise per litre for diesel. This was followed by a 50 paise per litre reduction in the price of petrol from December 16 and 46 paise per litre in that of diesel.
On January 1, the price of petrol was cut by 63 paise per litre while that of diesel was lowered by Rs 1.06 a litre. (Read more)
"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," Indian Oil said in a statement.
State-owned fuel retailers Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) revise rates of petrol and diesel on the 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-dollar exchange rate shall continue to be monitored closely and developing trends of the market will be reflected in future price changes," the statement added.