Bharat bandh: Opposition parties observe shutdown across states against rising fuel prices

Mae Love
September 11, 2018

A Day after the Mumbai Congress announced a bandh in the city on Monday and sought support of other political parties for a joint agitation against the issue of fuel price rise, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Sunday extended his party's support for the bandh call. Fuel prices in Delhi are the cheapest among all metros and most State capitals due to lower taxes.

The officer said police personnel have been deployed at petrol pumps across Delhi to ensure no untoward incident takes place. In Bengaluru, petrol price is Rs 83.36 and diesel is Rs 75.18.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley remained evasive on the issue of cutting down excise duty to cushion the spiralling petrol and diesel prices, adding that global oil prices are volatile and have not shown any linear movement. Till May 31, when the LDF government effected a slight cut in the sales tax on petrol and diesel, Kerala's was the sixth highest sales tax levy on both petrol and diesel. Diesel rate touched its highest level of Rs 72.61 a litre. Across the state, petrol prices have breached the mark of Rs 88 per litre, while diesel is around Rs 76 per litre, as mentioned by the All India Petrol Dealers Association (AIPDA). "If taxes are cut, prices will decline significantly".

However, many feel that by attributing the price hike only on worldwide factors must be taken with a pinch of salt, the BJP government is trying to shrug away its own responsibility of bringing fuel prices under the ambit of the Goods and the Services Tax (GST).

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Mumbai has the highest Value-Added Tax of 39.12 per cent on petrol, while Telangana levies the highest Value-Added Tax of 26 per cent on diesel. The tax ratio can be raised not by increasing rates but by bringing evaders and non-filers in tax net.

Nearly half of the fuel price is made up of taxes.

On March 1 this year, the state had secured a litre of petrol for Rs 54.60. This led to its excise collections from petro goods more than doubling in the last four years - from Rs 99,184 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 2,29,019 crore in 2017-18.

In Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam, CPI (M) members protested against the rising fuel prices. Today, the price at which the state gets a litre of petrol is Rs 58.25.

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