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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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Nizamuddin Railway station employee found corona positive

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New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) A 59-year-old employee of Indian Railways who is posted at the Nizamuddin station has been tested positive for coronavirus. The man has a few months left for retirement.

According to the Northern Railway, he was undergoing treatment at Central Hospital of Northern Railway, due to which 15 employees including doctors have also been infected in this hospital. This employee came to the hospital on March 31 and thereafter on April 2 due to poor health. Initially, there were no traces of coronavirus in him.

Deepak Kumar, Public Relations Officer of Northern Railway, said: “On April 2, when the man came to be hospitalized, the doctors suggested him to undergo MRI and CT scan tests. On April 6, when his report came, he was found positive for coronavirus. The patient has been sent to Rammanohar Lohia Hospital.”

Meanwhile, all 15 people of the Northern Railway Central Hospital, who came in contact with the corona-affected railway staff, have been kept in isolation. These people include doctors and nurses.

The infected railway staff works as a supervisor at the Nizamuddin railway station, hence, doesn’t come in direct contact with the people.

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Crowds at UP banks as lockdown extension appears possible

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Lucknow, April 8 (IANS) With newspapers and television channels announcing the possibility of the national lockdown being extended, people, on Wednesday, started rushing to the banks that witnessed substantial crowds.

The police in Uttar Pradesh had a tough time ensuring social distancing outside the banks.

The bank staff also tried to persuade the customers to stand at circled spots to ensure social distancing. However, since most banks do not have shades or porches, the customers were obviously uncomfortable standing in the sun.

Most of the customers at nationalized bank branch in Hazratganj area were senior citizens.

One of them said, “I have been standing here for about 40 minutes. There is no bench or chair for us. Moreover, the sun is right above our heads. There is no problem in waiting but some facilities should be made for senior citizens.”

Another customer, meanwhile, admitted that he had come to withdraw money after learning that the lockdown is likely to be extended.

“My pension has not come till now but I am going to withdraw money from my account because everything is being sold at a premium in the lockdown,” he said.

A police inspector, managing crowds outside another bank, said, “We understand their problem but they should also understand the need for social distancing. We are not enjoying this duty but rules have to be followed.”

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Markets open in red on Wednesday

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Mumbai, April 8: The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on Wednesday opened on a negative note during the morning session of the trade.

The Sensex of the BSE opened at 29,701.92 points and touched a high of 29,916.22. The Sensex touched a low of 29,602.94 points.

On Tuesday the Sensex closed at 30,067.21 points.

The Sensex is trading at 29,743.07 down by 324.14A points or 1.08 per cent.

On the other hand, the broader 50-scrip Nifty at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 8,688.90 points after closing at 8,792.20 points.

The Nifty is trading at 8,728.60 points in the morning.

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