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Taxes on petrol, diesel may go up to mobilise revenue for Covid relief

Taxes on petrol, diesel may go up to mobilise revenue for Covid relief
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Taxes on petrol, diesel may go up to mobilise revenue for Covid relief

Highlights

The economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent pressure on revenues may again push the Centre to raise excise duty on petrol and diesel

New Delhi : The economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent pressure on revenues may again push the Centre to raise excise duty on petrol and diesel.

Sources indicated that another Rs 3-6 per litre increase in excise duty on petrol and diesel may come soon if the government felt the need to mobilise more resources to finance additional economic recovery packages to fight Covid-19 related disruptions.

This level of increase could provide government additional revenue to the tune of Rs 60,000 for full year. In the balance period, about Rs 30,000 crore could be mobilised.

An internal examination to look at duty structure on the two products is on and exact timing of the announcement may be finalised soon, sources indicated.

Government wants that any duty hike on petrol and diesel should not result in an increase in the retail price of the two products as it would not be popular with the consumers besides the increase could have inflationary implications on the economy.

Experts said that current juncture would be ideal for an excise duty on petrol hike as petrol and diesel prices have not been revised for the past almost a month even though global crude prices have softened and reached about $ 40 a barrel from a month ago high of over $ 45 a barrel.

In March, the government had taken Parliamentary approval to raise special additional excise duty on petrol to Rs 18 per litre and on diesel to Rs 12 per litre but did not change the levy then. In May, it raised special additional excise to Rs 12 on petrol and to Rs 9 on diesel.

This leaves the government with the space to increase excise duty on petrol by a further Rs 6 per litre and on diesels by Rs 3 per litre. This option is being examined now.

For consumers, any further increase in duty should not impact much as retail prices may be left unchanged or marginally increased as lower oil prices would allow for absorbing any increase in price.

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