The State Government this evening announced a matching cut of Rs 2.50 in the fuel prices commensurate with the price slash of Rs 2.50, announced by the Central Government earlier today taking the total succor to Rs 5 per litre in J&K.
The Congress, however, hit out at the Narendra Modi government over what it described as a "meagre" reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel.
The share prices of oil marketing companies like Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd plunged immediately, down by as much as 12% in initial trading after Jaitley's remarks. We welcome this decision and thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi on behalf of the people and BJP workers.
Jaitley said the move will have an impact of Rs 10,500 crore on the revenues of central government this fiscal but the government is confident of achieving the fiscal deficit target.
Responding to a query about state governments following suit with similar tax cuts, Jaitley said that this measure would be a "a test for all state governments, especially those whose leaders have been demanding cuts while paying lip service to people".
Fuel prices reached new highs in other cities too - with petrol costing Rs 84 per litre in New Delhi, Rs 87.33 per litre in Chennai and Rs 85.80 per litre in Kolkata on Thursday. "Thus petrol & diesel wd be Rs 5 cheaper in the State of Gujarat", Gujarat CM tweeted.
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Rising fuel prices have become a political controversy in India, with attention specifically focused on the high taxes that the Centre charges.
Taxes on petrol and diesel, which account for more than a third of retail fuel prices, are one of the biggest sources of income for the government, which is seeking to keep the country's budget deficit in check.
Gujarat and Maharashtra announced cuts in prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 2.5 per litre on October 4. "Each and every state has their own situation so first let the letter come", he said. Petrol rates increased by Rs 0.15 per litre and diesel rates increased by Rs 0.20 per litre on Thursday.
"As you know, brent oil has crossed $86 a barrel, the higher it has been in the last four years", Mr. Jaitley said at a press conference.
Jaitley, however, downplayed fiscal implications around the fuel price cut. On top of this, states levy value added tax (VAT) - the lowest being in Andaman and Nicobar Islands where a 6 per cent sales tax is charged on both the fuels.