Within minutes of the Narendra Modi government announcing the relief of Rs 2.5 per litre on petrol and diesel, BJP-ruled Gujarat and Maharashtra also announced a VAT cut of Rs 2.5 per litre, taking the total relief to Rs 5 per litre.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the state government has decided to give additional relief of Rs 2.5 per litre on petrol, while the Gujarat counterpart Vijay Rupani said the state has decided to cut VAT on both petrol and diesel by additional Rs 2.5 a litre. Fuel prices are highest in Maharashtra, where petrol prices breached Rs 90 a litre-mark recently.
Notably, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and poll-bound Rajasthan have already announced relief of Re1- Rs 2 on fuel prices. Earlier, announcing the decision to cut excise duty by Rs 1.5 per litre, while asking oil companies to absorb the loss of Rs 1 per litre, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also requested state governments to provide relief.
Arun Jaitley told reporters that the government has decided to provide the relief against the backdrop of surging crude oil prices, which was at a four-year high of $86 a barrel. He said that the government was confident of meeting its fiscal deficit target of 3.3% even after providing the tax relief due to higher-than-expected direct tax collection.
On Thursday, the petrol and diesel prices were hiked by about 23 paise by oil marketing companies as international crude oil prices surged and the rupee tumbled. The petrol prices were: Rs 84 a litre in Delhi and Rs 91 per litre in Mumbai. In some districts of Maharashtra and Bihar, petrol retailed at even more than Rs 92 per litre.