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Duty up on petrol & diesel; consumers may be spared from big price hike

Additionally, road and infrastructure cess on the two products has also been raised by Rs 1 per litre to Rs 10 per litre, effectively increasing the central duty on petrol and diesel to Rs 3 per litre. The new rates are effective from March 14.

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New Delhi, March 14 : The Government on Saturday raised excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 3 per litre, the highest in five years, taking advantage of the low global oil prices to boost its coffers.

However, it spared consumers from any immediate increase in retail price of the two auto fuels that may be adjusted later keeping any increase to the minimum. Petrol prices fell 13 paisa per litre to Rs 69.87 a litre and diesel by 16 paisa to Rs 62.58 in Delhi on Saturday.

As per a notification issued by Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, special duty on petrol and diesel has been hiked by Rs 2 per litre to Rs 10 a litre and Rs 4 a litre respectively.

Additionally, road and infrastructure cess on the two products has also been raised by Rs 1 per litre to Rs 10 per litre, effectively increasing the central duty on petrol and diesel to Rs 3 per litre. The new rates are effective from March 14.

Through this increase, the centre could gain in excess of Rs 45,000 crore of revenue for full year. But any resultant increase in retail price of the two products could have a negative impact on the economy already facing a slowdown.

A price rise in auto fuels could have a multiplier effect raising prices of several essential products and services and push up inflation. In February, the consumer price inflation has fallen to 6.58 per cent, but this could begin to rise again if petrol and diesel prices are raised.

Sources in public sector oil marketing companies said they would not pass on the entire increase in duty on petrol and diesel on their retail prices, offering some relief to consumers. But this will depend on global oil and product prices remaining subdued over a longer period.

It is learnt that oil companies have already been sounded to check any retail price rise immediately and if it is needed, then the rise should be gradual and in phases. OMCs have also been asked to absorb some rise in cost. This can be covered if oil prices keep soft and fall further as the cuts would be smaller than required.

The current increase of Rs 3 per litre in excise duty/cess is the highest in the two tenures of the NDA government. It follows a Rs 2 per litre increase in excise/cess proposed in 2019 increase in the Union Budget. Before these increases, petrol and diesel prices went for a series of nine hikes in quick sucession between 2015 and 2016. The prices, however, went down by Rs 2 per litre twice in October 2017 and again in October 2018.

At present, the total Central excise duty on petrol stands at Rs 22.98 per litre and on diesel Rs 18.83 per litre. In addition, states also levy VAT on the two products. Petrol and diesel have not been so far included under the GST.

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Hyundai bets on diesel models, launches Tucson SUV

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Chennai, July 14 : The second largest car maker in India Hyundai Motor India Ltd while continuing to bet on diesel powered vehicles is also looking at faster demand recovery from tier 2/3 cities, said a senior official on Tuesday.

Hyundai Motor also launched its new premium sports utility vehicle (SUV) Tucson for the Indian market.

Speaking to reporters, Tarun Garg, Director (Sales, Marketing and Service) said the timing of Tucson’s launch is right as there are over five lakh Creta buyers in the country who are looking for an upgrade to a premium SUV.

The new Tucson’s starting price is about Rs 22 lakh.

“With over 6.5 million customers worldwide, Tucson is one of the best-selling SUV’s across the world,” S.S. Kim, Managing Director and CEO told reporters.

He said the model was unveiled at the Auto Expo 2020.

Garg said the booking for diesel engine models are growing and the demand is across the country and more so from tier 2/3 cities.

He said when the fuel prices go up, buyers will look at fuel economy and diesel engines are fuel efficient.

According to Garg, Hyundai Motor has got over 45,000 bookings for its SUV Creta model and 56 per cent of that are for diesel engine variant.

Similarly, one third of the booking for Venue and Verna are for diesel models, Garg said.

“SUV lovers want much more than the fuel economy which diesel vehicles offer. It appears demand will stablilise at this level. There is also good demand for petrol models,” Garg added.

Queried about the pay cuts implemented by various companies and its impact on buyers scaling down their model preference Garg said he is not seeing any such trend.

According to him, buyers prefer to come to the showroom to take delivery of new cars even though Hyundai Motor offers to deliver the car at their door step.

Garg said it is not possible to predict the likely sales for 2020 as some states have Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

He said the company is watching the market behaviour on a monthly basis.

Garg said during June 2020, the company has reached 75 per cent of June 2019 demand figures, In July 2020 the car maker plans to touch 90 per cent of July 2019 levels.

On the availability of components as the company is planning to start third shift in its plant Garg said the localisation levels are very high and the dependence on components from China is very low.

According to Garg the company’s supply chain is ready to meet the demand for increased components as third shift production is soon to start.

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No lay-offs by Wipro amid crorona crisis, no such plan

The Bengaluru-headquartered IT behemoth employs more than 1.75 lakh people in several countries across the globe.

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Azim Premji Wipro

Bengaluru, July 13 : Global software major Wipro has not laid off any employee during the Covid-19 pandemic nor has any such plan at the moment, a top company official said on Monday.

“I just want to give comfort and say this categorically that we have not laid off a single employee as the pandemic unfolded,” Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji said at the company”s 74th annual general meeting (AGM) held virtually.

“At the moment, we have no plans to lay off anybody at the company,” he said, replying to a female shareholder.

“We are trying to drive cost deductions through various other means operationally and otherwise,” said Premji.

The Bengaluru-headquartered IT behemoth employs more than 1.75 lakh people in several countries across the globe.

–IANS

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Google to invest Rs 75,000 crore to boost digitisation in India

The investment will focus on four areas important to India’s digitisation– first enabling affordable access to information to every Indian in their own language.

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Sundar Pichai

New Delhi, July 13 : Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday announced a Google for India digitisation fund through which, the company will invest Rs 75,000 crore or approximately $10 billion over the next five to seven years to help India go digital.

“We will do this through a mix of equity investment, partnerships and an operational infrastructure ecosystem in India. This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy,” Pichai said during the Google for India virtual conference.

The investment will focus on four areas important to India’s digitisation– first enabling affordable access to information to every Indian in their own language.

“Second, building new products and services that are deeply relevant to India”s unique needs. Third, empowering businesses to continue or embark on digital transformation. And fourth, leveraging technology and Artificial Intelligence for social good in areas like health, agriculture and education,” the Google CEO said.

India’s Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad were also present during the conference.

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