For the first time since July this year, petrol in 15 states and three Union Territories (UT) is being sold at less than Rs 100. This was happening since Thursday. Incidentally, all 15 states are ruled by the BJP and its allies. Except for Odisha, no other non-BJP-ruled state or Union Territories has slashed fuel prices yet. Fuel prices had touched the Rs 100-mark at the beginning of the second week of July. This happened almost everywhere in the country. Petrol was a little over Rs 69 per litre in April 2020. It touched over Rs 90 at the end of March this year.
Petrol prices were reduced by as much as Rs 8.7 per litre and diesel by Rs 9.52 in BJP ruled states and UTs. This happened from Ladakh to Puducherry. They matched the central government’s announcement of a cut in excise duty with slashing of local sales tax (VAT) rates. The Union government was buckling under pressure. So, on Wednesday, it cut excise duty on petrol by Rs 5 per litre and that on diesel by Rs 10 a litre. They did this to give relief to consumers tensed by record-high retail fuel prices. This announcement was matched by 22 states and Union Territories. They cut VAT rates in different proportions.
This has led to BJP and its partner ruled states witnessing steeper reductions in petrol and diesel prices. This was in comparison to Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal and other states that are governed by other political parties. People noticed this and the state-owned oil firms prepared a price chart of different locations. The states and UTs that extended additional VAT benefits are Karnataka, Puducherry, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Assam, Sikkim, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Chandigarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Ladakh.
Karnataka saw Rs 8.62 a litre cut in petrol price due to VAT reduction and Rs 9.40 in diesel rates. Madhya Pradesh gave its citizens an additional Rs 6.89 price relief on petrol and Rs 6.96 on diesel. Uttar Pradesh lowered VAT on petrol by Rs 6.96 and diesel by Rs 2.04 a litre. States that have so far not lowered VAT include Congress and its allies ruled Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu, AAP-ruled Delhi, TMC-governed West Bengal, Left-ruled Kerala, BJD-governed Odisha, TRS-led Telengana and YSR Congress-ruled Andhra Pradesh. Wednesday’s excise duty cut had translated into a reduction in the price of petrol in the range of Rs 5.7 to Rs 6.35 per litre across the country and diesel rates by Rs 11.16 to Rs 12.88.