In a first, non-premium petrol breaches Rs 100-mark in Raj

Continuing its northbound trend in Rajasthan, the price of non-premium petrol crossed the Rs 100-mark for the first time in Sriganganagar district on Wednesday to reach Rs 100.13 per litre, while diesel price stood at Rs 92.12 a litre.

Despite the recent reduction in VAT by 2 per cent by the state government, there has been no respite for the common people as fuel prices continue to shoot up even as the ongoing Assembly session witnessed an elaborate discussion on rising fuel prices with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot blaming the Centre for its faulty policies.

Gehlot said in the Assembly on Monday that the Centre has not left any scope for the states to reduce fuel prices.

“The Union government has reduced excise duty or diverse components on fuel price, which was earlier shared with the states and vice versa. The excise duty on diesel was reduced from Rs 8 to Rs 1, leaving the states with lesser share in their hands. This is the reason why the states can’t reduce the existing taxes on fuel, as it would affect the revenues of the state,” the Rajasthan CM had said.

As per the state government, districts like Shriganganagar and Hanumangarh do not have oil depot and hence petrol-diesel prices are higher by Rs 3 or Rs 4 in those districts.

The state government officials further confirmed that the share of Central taxes on petrol is Rs 32.90, while the state has a share of Rs 26.52. The share of Central taxes on diesel is Rs 31.80, while for the state it is is Rs 19.62.

Speaking on the issue, Gehlot had said in the Assembly that the value added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel has recently been reduced by 2 per cent in Rajasthan, which will bring down the state revenue by Rs 1,000 crore.

Gehlot, in fact, openly took on the Centre, blaming it squarely government for the current crisis.

“Excise duty is Central government’s responsibility. During the UPA rule, oil prices were around $135-140 per barrel. At that time, petrol was available for Rs 70-75 per litre. However, now petrol price have touched Rs 90-100 per litre levels. Basic excise duty, which was Rs 9.48 paise in 2016, has been reduced to Rs 1.40. This was the amount through which all the states got their share of dues. However, special excise duty, which was Rs 6, was increased to Rs 11. This is the amount for which the state government has no share,” Gehlot said.

The CM further alleged that segments which earn no revenue for the states are being increased, while those which earn revenue for the states are being decreased.

Meanwhile, Union minister Smriti Irani during her recent visit to Jaipur had said that the Centre is trying its best to reduce fuel prices. “The Ashok Gehlot government in the state has enough allocations to reduce fuel prices. Now it is up to him (Gehlot) as to how much burden he wants to reduce on the people of the state.”

It needs to be mentioned here that despite the recent VAT reduction in the state, Rajasthan still has the highest VAT at 36 per cent plus Rs 1,500 per kilolitre road cess on petrol. On diesel, the state levies 26 per cent VAT and Rs 1,750 per kilolitre road cess, officials confirmed.

The neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, on the other hand, has 33 per cent VAT on petrol, Rs 4.5 additional VAT and 1 per cent cess, while diesel has 23 per cent VAT, Rs 3 additional VAT and 1 per cent. Hence, the prices are less there.