Indian government trims tax on fuel to fight inflation

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A worker holds a nozzle to pump petrol into a vehicle at a fuel station in Mumbai, India, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced a reduction of taxes on petrol and diesel to fight inflation and keep prices of essential items in check.

The excise duty on petrol was reduced by 8 rupees ($0.1028) per litre, and for diesel by 6 rupees per litre, she said in a series of tweets.

The government is expected to take a hit of about 1 trillion Indian rupees on its annual revenue due to the move, she said, urging the state governments to follow suit with similar reductions keeping in line with the federal government’s plan.

Currently, a litre of petrol costs 105.41 rupees, while diesel is at 96.67 rupees in New Delhi.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has specifically asked all arms of the government to work with sensitivity and give relief to the common man,” Sitharaman said.

The government will also give a subsidy of 200 rupees per gas cylinder to over 90 million beneficiaries under a welfare scheme introduced for women below the poverty line.

The subsidy will have an annual revenue implication of nearly 61 billion Indian rupees, she said.

The latest move is likely to increase fiscal concerns and raise doubts about government meeting its deficit target of 6.4% of GDP for 2022-23.

($1 = 77.8500 Indian rupees)

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