West Bengal govt reduces tax by Re 1 per litre on petrol, diesel
The West Bengal government on Sunday announced a reduction of tax by Re 1 per litre on petrol and diesel.
"West Bengal government decides Re 1 cut in prices of petrol and diesel to be applicable from midnight," news agency ANI quoted West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra as saying.
Mitra said that the move will provide some respite to people stung by burgeoning prices of fuel.
The prices of petrol and diesel are increasing continuously for more than 10 days; in some states, the price of petrol has even crossed the ₹100-mark.
In Mumbai, petrol is at all-time high of ₹97 per litre, while diesel rate crossed ₹88-mark.
Congress and other opposition parties have been slamming the central government for rising fuel prices. The Congress even took out marches and observed bandh at several places on Saturday to protest against rising fuel prices.
In 12 days (till February 20), retail petrol prices rose by ₹3.63 a litre, a record since the pricing was deregulated in 2010, and diesel rates went up by ₹3.84.
"The Centre earns ₹32.90 per litre in taxes from petrol, while the state gets ₹18.46 only. In case of diesel, the central government's earning is ₹31.80 per litre as against ₹12.77 for the state," Mitra said on Sunday.
The bengal government's move comes a day after finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that Centre and state governments will have to together work out a mechanism to bring retail rates to reasonable levels.
However, Sitharaman, who had increased central excise duty on petrol and diesel by a record margin last year to mop up gains arising from international oil prices plunging to two-decade low, remained non-committal on cutting taxes to give relief to consumers.
"This is a very vexatious issue. An issue in which no answer except reducing the price (of fuel) will convince anyone. I know I am treading on an area and whatever I may say, to bring in the reality into picture, will only sound like I am obfuscating," she said.
As much as 60 per cent of the retail price of petrol and about 56 per cent of diesel prices is made up of central and state taxes.