In an effort to reduce public grievance over rising fuel prices, Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy announced on Monday that the state government will reduce the price of petrol and diesel by Rs 2. Speaking to reporters in Kalaburagi, the chief minister said, "Today, we are taking a decision that we are going to reduce Rs 2 on both petrol and diesel."
Karnataka is the latest non-BJP state government to reduce the fuel price after West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh announced cuts in the last week. BJP-ruled Rajasthan was the first state to announce a 4 percent reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel on 9 September. Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government said it was working on proposals to reduce the fuel prices.
Fuel prices across the country have been skyrocketing with petrol being sold at Rs 81.63 per litre, and diesel at Rs 73.54 per litre in New Delhi on Friday. Mumbai continued to be the worst affected by rising fuel prices, with petrol retailing at a staggering Rs 89.01 per litre and diesel at Rs 78.07 per litre.
On 10 September, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced that both petrol and diesel prices will be reduced by Rs 2. The new rates came into effect on Tuesday. Mentioning that the state will lose Rs 1,120 crores due to the reduction, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) blamed the Centre for the price hike.
"The central government has been imposing a heavy burden on people by steeply increasing the prices of petrol and diesel despite heavy income in the form of various levies and dividends. Though the state is faced with a deficit budget, we have decided to reduce the tax and ease the burden on people,” The Indian Express quoted him as saying.
On Tuesday, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced a cut in state tax for petrol and diesel, bringing down their prices by Re 1. Slamming the central government over its inability to control fuel prices, the TMC leader said the government is harassing the people of the country.
"The central government has caused this mismanagement. They have increased the central cess nine times. States do not enjoy any percentage of the central cess. Yet the Centre will not reduce it," The Times of India quoted her as saying.
A combination of a dip in rupee value against the US dollar and rise in crude oil prices has led to a spike in pump prices since mid-August. Petrol price has since risen by Rs 4.20 per litre and diesel by Rs 4.53 - the most in any one-month period since the daily revision in fuel prices was introduced in June last year.
The Union government has been facing flak in the past few weeks for not implementing stringent measures to curb prices.
Last week, the Congress and 21 other regional and national parties observed a 'Bharat Bandh' on account of the consistent rise in fuel prices and urged the government to take necessary steps to reduce citizens' woes. However, the Centre has maintained that external factors, including a rise in international crude oil prices, are influencing domestic fuel prices.
According to a FactChecker report, since the BJP-led government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office on 26 May, 2014, petrol prices have increased 10 percent from Rs 73.6 on 1 June, 2014, to Rs 80.73 on 10 September, 2018; diesel prices 26 percent from Rs 57.84 to Rs 72.83.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Sep 17, 2018 13:16:06 IST