A man walks past a diesel and petrol gas pump at a Bharat Petroleum Corp. gas station in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Vivek Prakash/Bloomberg)  

Petrol, Diesel Prices Hiked For Eleventh Straight Day Amid Protests

State-run oil marketers hiked petrol and diesel prices for the eleventh day in a row, adding to the burden of consumers dealing with record prices and amid rising political pressure on the Narendra Modi government.

The price of petrol was hiked by 30 paise today to Rs 85.29 a litre in Mumbai, while diesel price was raised by 20 paise to Rs 72.96 a litre, according to data released by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. That’s a Rs 2.64 per litre increase in petrol prices, and Rs 2.53 per litre increase in diesel rates since May 14, when oil marketing companies resumed daily price revisions after a 19-day freeze in the run-up to the Karnataka elections.

The price hike is in line with rising oil prices. Brent crude rose 0.3 percent to close at $79.80 a barrel on Wednesday.

Opposition Protests

The opposition Congress Party will protest in Mumbai today, against the Modi government’s refusal to cut taxes on petrol and diesel.

The Trinamool Congress will organise protests in Kolkata on Friday against the steep rise in fuel prices, according to news agency PTI. Similar protests would be held in all districts in West Bengal on Saturday and Sunday, said TMC Secretary-General Partha Chatterjee.

Government Working On Long-Term Solution

The central government is working on a long-term solution for increasing fuel prices, Union Law and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a press conference yesterday, according to a PTI report.

The government is keen that instead of having an ad-hoc measure, it may be desirable to have a long-term view which addresses not only the volatility but also takes care of the unnecessary ambiguity arising out of frequent ups and downs. That process is underway.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, Law and IT Minister

Bringing Fuel Under GST A Long-Term Solution: HPCL

State-run oil marketer Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. said the long-term solution for higher fuel prices is to bring petrol and diesel under the Goods and Services Tax regime.

“GST will rationalise the taxation structure for the fuel and the GST Council has to do it.,” the company’s Chairman and Managing Director MK Surana told reporters in a press conference yesterday.