BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday said that the Centre's reduction in petrol and diesel prices by Rs 2.50 a litre reflected the Narendra Modi-led government's concern towards the countrymen, which evoked a sharp reaction from the main opposition party Congress.
Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have hiked the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 7.58 per litre and Rs 8.10 per litre since 1 August. In response, the governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat have also announced a reduction in excise duties. Several other states later announced a similar move.
Jaitley said it will be a test for those states whose leaders were only tweeting and indulging in lip sympathy. "What will they do now?"
The Centre on Thursday reduced fuel prices by Rs 2.50 per litre with immediate effect.
The state of Karnataka, who earlier slashed fuel prices by Rs 2, will not be announcing any more cuts.
Jaitley said the excise duty cut would have an impact of Rs 10,500 crore on central government's tax revenues.
The fuel prices had been going up every day for last few weeks, burning a hole in people's pockets. But it is unclear how many of India's 29 states will meet the request, though some had in recent weeks already reduced their take.
The Minister expressed confidence about meeting the fiscal deficit target despite the excise duty cut, saying increased revenue collections would absorb the impact of the cuts.
Maharashtra and Gujarat were among the first to announce matching fuel price cuts providing an effective Rs 5 relief to consumers.
This time, he expected the NDA-ruled states to follow suit and reduce the state's value added taxes.
Madhya Pradesh has cut fuel prices by Rs 2.50 per litre.
"Ever since the Modi government assumed office, it has raised excise duty on diesel by Rs 14 and petrol by Rs 9 per litre".
The Finance Minister said, the prices of crude oil and domestic developments in the USA have impacted the economies across the world.
"Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, addressing a press conference, said that as the Centre's reducing fuel prices "will give a great relief to common man", his government has also made a decision to give additional relief of Rs. 2.5 per litre on the prices of petrol & diesel". Neither the centre nor the states have the bandwidth to make any steep cut in excise duties and sales tax due to limited fiscal space available in an election year.