Fuel price hike leading citizens to rework budgets

Unrelenting fuel price rise in Hyderabad has forced citizens to rework budgets and cut down on expenses. On Thursday, the sixth day in 10 days of price hike, petrol retailed at ₹112.66 paise in the city. A day earlier it was ₹112.29. “Do something so that this price spiral stops,” said a motor mechanic filling up fuel at an outlet in Rethi Bowli area.

“I am spending nearly ₹200 more per day. Two months earlier, I used to fill diesel for ₹400 and by the end of the day my earnings would be ₹1,200. But now, I spend ₹600 on diesel and my earnings are the same,” said Lakshmi Sagar, who lives in the Aramghar area and drives a hired autorickshaw for living.

Workers in the high mobility gig economy have been the worst-affected due to the fuel price hike. “This is a back-breaking price hike. Three months back, I used to spend ₹15,000 per month on diesel. Now, I am spending ₹22,000. Many families had to change houses due to the dip in earnings,” says Shaik Salauddin, who drives a diesel cab for living. “None of the online platforms have increased the base price to match with the fuel price rise. The companies make the same money but our take home has declined,” he says.

Motorists get to see new price every day. Over the past 28 days in October, diesel prices have surged by 7.04% and petrol prices have surged by 5.89% in Hyderabad. “When petrol was ₹70, we got ₹6/km. Now, petrol is ₹110, still we are getting ₹6/km. Is this fair? Please increase the payout,” tweeted a food delivery executive in the city.

“Earlier, we used to spend ₹250-300 per day. Now, ₹400-500. When fuel prices were low we used to get return orders to our zones but now no return orders affecting our earnings. Instead of compensating for the price hike, Swiggy is giving us 10% extra on daily incentives, which is useless,” he says. For the record, petrol was ₹72.93 in 2017, and ₹82 in 2018. It breached the ₹100 mark on June 14, 2021, and has been on an upswing since then.

“The price at fuel outlets changes at 6 a.m. when we get the notifications. Pre-pandemic, we used to sell 11,000 litres of fuel per day. Now, we sell 8,000 litres,” says the owner of an Indian Oil fuel outlet in Somajiguda.

Out of the ₹112.66 price, the Telangana government gets ₹29.33 as VAT. A major chunk of the taxes on fuel goes to the Centre. “Out of ₹32.90 central excise duty, ₹31.50 is collected in the form of cess and surcharges, which is not shared with states. Only ₹1.40 goes into divisible pool out of which 41% is shared with all states,” informs Rakesh Dubbudu, based on information from Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell as well as Finance Commission recommendations.

The cess collected by Centre includes Special Additional Excise Duty (SAED), Additional Excise Duty (Road & Infrastructure) (AED), and Agriculture & Infrastructure Development Cess (AIDC) per litre. The last cess was introduced in the 21-22 budget.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 5:11:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/fuel-price-hike-leading-citizens-to-rework-budgets/article37214744.ece

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