Government slashes excise duty on fuel

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In the past week, petrol prices were hiked by 14-15 paise per litre in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai, while diesel rates increased by 19-20 paise per litre, according to Indian Oil Corporation. The move is aimed to lessen the impact of rising fuel prices on a vast consumer base, Reuters reported, quoting two oil ministry officials. Prices today stood at Dollars 68.89 a barrel, up 0.4 per cent from their last close, albeit much lower than the January 15 peak of USD 70.37.

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Petrol prices crossed the Rs80-a-litre mark hitting Rs80.10 per litre in Mumbai as state-run oil marketing companies continued to raise fuel prices on a daily basis. To remind you, a group of oil producers including OPEC and Russian Federation, the world's biggest crude producer, started to withhold production in January past year to prop up prices.

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The news of rise in petrol price comes at a time when the government has already indicated it will work towards bringing petroleum products under the purview of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

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"The minister of finance and economic development Patrick Chinamasa has in terms of section 225 of the Customs and Excise Act reduced Excise Duty on fuel with effect from 23 January 2018", secretary for Finance and Economic Planning Willard Manungo said in a statement. "We are hopeful that the GST Council will agree to it shortly", he told reporters yesterday. Under the new tax regime, the maximum tax imposed on petrol and diesel will be capped at 28 per cent. Modi and other senior leaders of the BJP had given grief to the then UPA government for the rise in petrol prices. He added, that the state governments too levied cess on petrol. Prices now are much higher, making intervention all the more urgent.

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