New Delhi, Jan 30: The Union Budget 2018 will be presented on Thursday, February 1, by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and he is facing enormous challenge to control the spiralling prices of petrol and diesel. As of Tuesday, January 30, diesel was selling at Rs 68.15 per litre in Mumbai while petrol was at Rs 80.79 per litre. In the national Capital New Delhi, diesel was at Rs 64 per litre and petrol was at Rs 72.92 per litre.

In Kolkata and Chennai, the price of diesel today was Rs 66.67 per litre and Rs 67.50 per litre respectively. Petrol in Kolkata and Chennai was at Rs Rs 75.62 per litre and Rs 75.63 per litre today respectively. (Check the price of petrol and diesel in your city as on January 30 here)

The price of crude oil is at three-year high in the international market which is directly impacting the petrol, diesel prices in the country. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has written to the Finance Ministry urging it to announce a cut in excise duty of the two petroleum products to lessen the burden on the aam aadmi. However, the government is unlikely to announce a rate cut as it had recently announced Rs 2 cut in excise duty.

Loss to Exchequer

If the government decides to announce a rate cut in the upcoming Budget 2018, it will be adding to the pressure on state exchequer. Any further rate cut will also deny the government to achieve its aim of maintaining the 3.2 per cent loss to the state exchequer due to the excise duties. This will pose new challenges for the finance ministry.

CEA Arvind Subramanian Wants Petrol, Diesel Under GST

Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has called for petroleum products to be brought under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). He also made a case for one rate under the GST for all goods and services down the line.

“Petroleum products, electricity and real estate should be brought under the GST for reasons limited to the GST. But if rising fuel prices become another reason for them (petroleum products) to be brought under it, then that’s good,” Subramanian told reporters after a press briefing in which he explained the major highlights of the Economic Survey 2017-18.