Just a day after the Congress announced that it will organise a nationwide campaign against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party over increasing fuel prices, Rahul Gandhi,former Congress chief on Wednesday drew a parallel between the rising cases of the Covid-19 and rates of petrol and diesel.
Fuel retailers on Wednesday raised diesel price for the 18th day in a row by 48 paise per litre, making it costlier than petrol for the 1st time. Retailers, however, hit the pause button on petrol prices after hiking them for 17 days on the run.
“The Modi government has ‘unlocked’ the corona pandemic and prices of petrol-diesel,” tweeted Gandhi in Hindi and also tagged a graph captioned, “coronavirus is not the only rising curve”. The graph showed a steady rise in the daily coronavirus cases and prices of petrol and diesel after the lockdown was relaxed on 1st June with the start of Unlock1.0.
Since 7th June, the Pump prices of petroleum have risen by Rs.8.5 per litre. In 18 days,Diesel prices have increased by Rs 10.49 per litre.
The Congress has been attacking the ruling government over the constant raise in petrol and diesel rates after the lockdown restrictions were relaxed. In Delhi, diesel is being sold at Rs 79.88 per litre while petrol is priced at Rs 79.76 a litre. Retail prices of the 2 fuels differ from city to city because of variations in local levies.
The main reason for a spike in petrol and diesel rates were high central and state levies that had been imposed when global oil prices were very low, said the Executives at state-run oil marketing companies.
The Centre raised excise duties on petrol and diesel twice, 1st by Rs 3 per litre each, and later on by Rs 10 a litre on petrol and Rs 13 on diesel. A Re-1 per litre hike in excuse duty means additional revenue of Rs 14,500 crore to the exchequer in a year.
States have also raised VAT on petrol and diesel since mid-March. Last month, the Delhi government raised Value added tax on petrol and diesel to 30 percent; consequently, retail prices of petrol in the state jumped by Rs 1.67 per litre and diesel by Rs 7.10 a litre.
Previously, state levies on petrol and diesel were 27 percent and 16.75 percent respectively. Diesel in Delhi also attracts an additional Rs 250 per kilolitre air ambience charge.
The ministries of petroleum and finance, and state-run oil marketing companies including Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd did not respond to queries on the matter.
Domestic consumers have suffered a constant spike in petrol and diesel prices as global oil prices started moving north after the producers’ union, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, particularly Russia (together OPEC+), on 6th June decided to extend record output cuts by 1 more month till the end of July.
According to the Union health ministry, the country on Wednesday witnessed the highest single day jump of 15,968 Covid-19 cases and 465 fatalities, taking the case tally to 456,183 and the death toll to 14,476.