Cut in petrol, diesel prices shows government's sensitiveness: Shah

Petrol diesel prices to come down by Rs 2.50 govt cuts excise duty

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who made the announcement, pegged the excise duty cut impact at Rs 10,500 crore.

He also asked the states to match the cut announced by the states to give further relief to the masses and Gujarat and Maharashtra immediately followed suit.

"I am also writing to the states to make corresponding cuts in Value-Added Tax of equivalent amount so that consumers get Rs 5 relief in retail prices", he said.

The minister also maintained that Thursday's decision did not represent a re-regulation of fuel prices. This will reduce the overall price by about Rs 5. Top sources said that the state government is also considering a reduction in the prices of diesel.

The share prices of oil marketing companies like Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd plunged immediately, down by as much as 12% in initial trading after Jaitley's remarks.

The strong USA economy added with the mighty dollar has widened the current account deficit of India and it has also impacted significantly on the emerging markets across the globe. In Mumbai, petrol rates had breached Rs 90 per litre.

"By asking the oil marketing companies to absorb the price hike, the government is giving a signal that it can interfere at anytime in a deregulated market in the larger public interest", said Gagan Dixit, a senior analyst with Elara Capital.

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The new fuel prices would be effective in the state from this midnight, an official spokesman said.

Following the Centre's appeal, several State governments including Tripura, Maharastra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Gujarat announced to provide give additional relief of Rs 2.50 per litre on petrol and diesel to give benefit of Rs 5 per litre to people in their respective States.

For state-owned fuel retailers absorbing Re 1 per litre price would mean about Rs 10,700 crore dent in their revenue on an annualised basis. State-run refiners will also cut the price they charge by 1 rupee per litre.

Diesel is being sold at Rs 75.45 per litre in New Delhi, Rs 79.79 per litre in Chennai and Rs 77.30 per litre in Kolkata.

India stopped controlling petrol prices in 2010 and diesel prices in 2014, linking them to global crude markets in a bid to ease pressure on government finances and improve the earnings of oil refiners.

Brent, the benchmark for more than half the world's oil, has touched United States dollars 86 per barrel mark, the highest in four years.

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