New Delhi: Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday said petrol and diesel prices are governed by an international price mechanism and it was a misnomer to campaign in such a way that fuel prices are at an all-time high.

“In the last 300 days, there have been around 60 days of increase in price (and) on around 7 days in petrol and 21 days in diesel we have decreased the price. And for almost 250 days we have not increased or decreased prices… So, it’s a misnomer to campaign in that way that it is all-time high,” he told Rajya Sabha.

Replying to questions in the Rajya Sabha, the minister said the centre has raised the excise duty and states hiked value-added tax (VAT). He noted that the central government has also reduced prices.

Pradhan said international crude oil price is an indicator but international product price is the benchmark.

“In our country state governments and the union government are careful about their tax collection because everybody has their own welfare commitment, developmental priorities for that they need some resources from this route… petroleum price tax collection is a proven and substantial collection for state governments, the union government,” Pradhan said.

The minister informed the House that prices of petrol and diesel have been made market-determined in June 2010 and October 2014, respectively. Since then, the Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have taken appropriate decisions on pricing of petrol and diesel in line with international product prices and other market conditions.

The OMCs have not only increased but also decreased the prices of petrol and diesel in line with changes in international prices and rupee dollar exchange rate, he said.

With an aim to reduce the prices of petrol and diesel and give relief to consumers, Pradhan said the central government reduced the Central Excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre with effect from 4 October, 2017.

The central government further reduced the Central Excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 1.5 per litre with effect from 5 October, 2018 and Public Sector OMCs also reduced Rs 1 per litre to decrease the overall price of petrol and diesel.

The central government also requested the state governments to make a reduction of Rs 2.50 per litre in VAT imposed by them on petrol and diesel, he said, and added 18 state governments and one union territory had reduced VAT on petrol and diesel.

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