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GST on petroleum: Jaitley throws the ball to Congress-ruled states

Jaitley had said that the Centre wanted to bring petroleum under the ambit of GST and was awaiting responses from states

Indivjal Dhasmana  |  New Delhi 

Fuel, petrol, diesel

minister asked the party to tell the five ruled by it to agree to impose the and (GST) on petroleum, instead of asking what the Centre was doing on this . “You tell the five to give a statement that they are ready to do so,” he told the benches while giving a reply in the Lok Sabha to the second supplementary demand for grants. Involving net cash outgo of Rs 33,380 crore, it was later passed by the House. He reminded the opposition party that the constitution amendment Bill drafted by the previous government it had headed did not include petroleum under GST. It was the subsequent Bill under the BJP-led government that did so at zero rate, he said. “You (the Congress) are in the opposition and have the flexibility to change your position,” he said. Jaitley had said on Tuesday that the Centre wanted to bring petroleum under the ambit of GST and was awaiting responses from On why the Centre has not cut the excise duty on petroleum further, he said the government did so when went up. “We asked to reduce taxes on petroleum. All NDA-ruled did so but the UPA-ruled refused to,” he said. He said the excise duty on petroleum was used to fund higher allocation to infrastructure, including highways. “Who will pay for highways, if not those driving vehicles?” he asked. The minister wondered why some were saying their revenues under GST had gone down, when they were assured constitutionally of protection regarding 14 per cent growth in their receipts on the base of 2015-16. Taking on president for calling GST a ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ (the reference is to a dacoit) he said the total incidence of earlier taxes came to 31-31.5 percent, if cascading was also considered.

The peak rate of GST is 28 per cent, reduced to 18 per cent on most items. Fiscal deficit Jaitley reiterated the aim of reining in the Centre’s at 3.2 per cent of the country’s (GDP) for the current financial year, ending March 31. The deficit had reached 96 per cent of the Budget Estimate for the full year in the first seven months, primarily because of expenditure frontloading. “The idea is that the glide path of the should always be maintained, so that our borrowing keeps coming down,” he said. He said the country’s economy was growing at an annual seven to eight per cent, a new normal, and inflation was under control. On the contentious Financial Resolution and Depositors Insurance Bill, he assured that the money of all depositors in public sector banks would be protected. “We need not create any fear of psychosis. When the Bill comes before the joint committee, please discuss this. There is a 2011 commitment, when the UPA was in power (that led to the legislation), an offtake of the 2008 global crisis,” he said.

First Published: Fri, December 22 2017. 02:14 IST