It can be argued that despite enjoying windfall gains from the drop in global oil prices, the NDA government opted to shore up revenue by raising taxes, instead of passing the benefit to customers.
Even as petrol prices seem to be inching towards the psychological Rs 100 Per litre mark in most cities, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have been at loggerheads over a connected issue. The opposition believes that the BJP is involved in a smear campaign to blame it for high fuel prices on outstanding payments of oil bonds issued when it was in power.
Despite global crude oil prices being significantly low as compared to 2011-12, customers have to pay more at fuel stations than earlier. The average price of crude in March 2011 was $104.42 per barrel while the price of petrol in the national capital was Rs 58.37 per litre. On September 21, 2018, customers in Delhi had to dish out Rs 82.41 / litre despite crude prices retailing for $70.78 per barrel. Petrol prices have already breached the Rs 90 mark in Mumbai.
End users are paying more, and the government alleges that the pinch felt now is on account of feckless borrowing to subsidise prices in the past. However, that is not the case. The excise duty on petroleum products is much higher than it was when the UPA government was in power.