Fuel price hike under Modi less than during UPA regime: Graph or gaffe?

PTI8_28_2018_000047B A board displays the petrol and diesel prices at a petrol pump in Guwahati as on August 28 | PTI

The BJP government on Monday came up with what could be termed a bizarre calculus to defend the Narendra Modi government against the opposition attack on fuel price hike. The official Twitter handle of the ruling party came up with a series of tweets with graphs explaining the “Truth of hike in petroleum prices”.

The graphs depicted the percentage of diesel and petrol price hike under the BJP government. In the graph on diesel price, between May 16, 2014 and September 10, 2018, there is a 28 per cent hike compared to 83.7 per cent under the UPA government between May 16, 2009 and May 16, 2014. However, the graph shows a fall in diesel prices instead of an increase [See tweet]. The graph on petrol prices also depicts a fall. The price of diesel and petrol in New Delhi stands at Rs 72.83 and Rs 80.73 respectively, on Monday.

The percentage of rise in fuel prices stands true. The variable on global crude prices seems to be non-existent in the saffron party's calculation. In May 2014, when the diesel prices in India hit Rs 56.71 per litre, the global crude prices were hovering around $106 per Barrel and as of September 10, 2018, the global crude prices have come down to $77.51 per Barrel.


Crude oil ($/bbL)

Petrol (Rs/Litre)

Diesel (Rs/Litre)

May, 2014




Sept 10, 2018




The Congress party was quick to “fix” the BJP's faulty graph, with a rectified bar graph showing the actual fuel price hike. The party's graph also made a comparison by including the Indian Basket Crude Oil prices for the respective years.

Fuel rates have been on fire since mid-August, rising almost every day due to a drop in rupee value and rise in crude oil rates. While a cut in excise duty that the Union government levies may bring down the fuel prices, it is unlikely to happen as it would impact the fiscal deficit.

The Union government had raised excise duty on petrol by Rs 11.77 a litre and that on diesel by Rs 13.47 a litre in nine instalments between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre.

This led to its excise collections from petroleum goods more than doubling in last four years—from Rs 99,184 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 2,29,019 crore in 2017-18. States saw their VAT revenue from petro goods rise from Rs 1,37,157 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 1,84,091 crore in 2017-18.

Meanwhile, an election-bound Rajasthan on Sunday announced a 4 per cent cut in VAT on petrol and diesel and Andhra Pradesh on Monday said fuel prices will be reduced by Rs 2 each from cut in sales tax.