New Delhi, Feb 27: While responding to the Union Budget 2010 presented by the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday, Feb 26, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora tried to make the country understand why the government hiked the prices of pertroproducts.
Deora defended the FM's move saying that it was only done to protect or 'insulate' the Indian consumers from high international oil prices that the government had then reduced the basic customs duty to 2.5 percent.
The current average price of the Indian basket of crude was around 70 dollars per barrel - much less than the average price of 120 dollars per barrel in Jun 2008, Deora informed.
"Now since the average price of Indian basket of crude oil is around USD 70 per barrel, the finance ministry has restored the basic Customs Duty of 5 percent on crude oil and 7.5 percent on petrol and diesel. Also, the Central Excise Duty has been enhanced on petrol and diesel by Re 1 per litre each," he added.
As of Friday, Feb 26 midnight, the price of the petrol increased by about Rs 2.77 and the price of diesel went up by about Rs 2.55.
The move to increase the CET by Re 1/litre was not received well by the Opposition, which staged an unprecedented walk out from the Lok Sabha while the Budget was being presented. The surge in fuel prices has left worry lines on the common man.