Fuel Prices Increased. Left declares Bharat Bandh on Monday

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley remained evasive on the issue of cutting down excise duty to cushion the spiralling petrol and diesel prices, adding that global oil prices are volatile and have not shown any linear movement.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party also claimed that the shutdown was "unsuccessful" because people understand the reasons why petrol and diesel prices were going up, the Congress termed the bandh as successful. Here is the case of petrol: from Rs 9.20 a litre it shot up to Rs 19.48 per litre for petrol. In Mumbai, a litre of petrol costs Rs 87.77 and diesel comes for Rs 76.98, the notification said. In a span of one week, prices of petrol and diesel have gone up by Rs 1.65 a litre and Rs 1.92 a litre, respectively. (Delhi - Rs 72.83; Mumbai - Rs 77.32; Chennai - Rs 76.98; Kolkata - Rs 75.68.) The petrol price on September 10 is Rs 84.06 a litre, which is higher than in all metros except Mumbai (where the price is Rs 88.12 on the day.).

Normal life was hit in some states Monday with offices and educational institutes remaining closed and vehicles off the roads during an opposition-sponsored Bharat Bandh in protest against rising prices of petrol and diesel. Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also attributed the hike in fuel prices mainly to rupee depreciation. The spike in prices has renewed calls for cut in excise duty but Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has remained non-committal, saying worldwide oil prices are volatile and have not shown any linear movement. Petrol price has risen by Rs 3.65 a litre and diesel by Rs 4.06 per litre - the biggest increase in rates witnessed in any month since the launch of daily price revision in mid-June a year ago.

This is the biggest increase in rates in any fortnight since the daily price revision was introduced in mid-June a year ago. "If taxes are cut, prices will decline significantly".

As it stands, the sales tax the state has imposed on petrol is 30.37 per cent, and that on diesel is 23.81 per cent.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje announced a four-percent reduction in value-added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel, which will reduce their prices by Rs 2.5 per litre in the state. The Centre now levies a total excise duty of Rs 19.48 per litre of petrol and Rs 15.33 per litre on diesel.

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