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Fuel duty hike not new tax: FM

business Updated: Mar 03, 2010 21:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Fuel duty hike not new tax: FM

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said the government has not brought any new tax on petrol and diesel, and has only rolled back concessions extended to shield Indian consumers from spiralling global crude prices in 2008.

The finance minister also partly blamed the recent surge in food price inflation on high cost of intermediation, which, he said, can be reduced by encouraging competition in food distribution.

“It is not a new duty that I have imposed,” Mukherjee told industry captains at post-budget meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry here.

He said concessions in excise duty were given in June 2008 when price of crude oil had crossed $130 ( about Rs 6,000) per barrel and now with the prices coming down, the government has partially gone back to earlier regime.

With policy makers grappling for options to sustain growth amid rising prices, Mukherjee said: “Cost of intermediation ( in food management) is very high.”

A committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with the finance minister, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar as members is looking into it.