NEW DELHI, Oct 4 - The government on Thursday announced a Rs 2.50 per litre cut in petrol and diesel prices by reducing excise duty and asking PSU oil firms to take a hit of Rs 9,000 crore, a step that was matched by the BJP-ruled states by slashing VAT so as to double the reduction in retail rates.
While the Centre cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 1.50 per litre and asked oil firms to absorb Re 1 a litre of prices, the BJP-ruled states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Tripura announced a cut in VAT of up to Rs 2.5 per litre to effect a Rs 5 per litre reduction in pump rates.
The price cuts would be effective from midnight tonight.
The reduction in excise duty, only the second in four years of the BJP-led NDA rule, will dent Central government revenues by Rs 10,500 crore and was aimed at cooling retail prices that had shot up to an all-time high.
Announcing the decision, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asked the state governments to match the move with a similar reduction in sales tax or VAT, saying leaders who only tweet and indulge in lip sympathy over high prices will be put to test now.
The BJP-government at the Centre had raised excise duty on petrol by Rs 11.77 a litre and that on diesel by Rs 13.47 a litre in nine instalments between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre.
It had resisted the call for a reduction in excise duty since May when retail rates first shot up and then again from mid-August when fuel prices started moving up again.
Jaitley said he on Wednesday met Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and inter-ministerial consultations continued on Thursday.
After approval of the Prime Minister, a three-part relief is being passed on to consumers � the Centre will cut excise duty by Rs 1.5, and oil marketing companies (OMCs) will factor in Re 1 in their pricing, and states have been asked to cut VAT as they have raked in windfall gains due to ad valorem nature of the levy that results in higher realisation whenever rates move up, he said. � PTI