'Govt exploring ways to bring petro-products under GST'
Government is exploring ways to bring the petroleum products under the ambit of the proposed GST with the consent of states, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday, announcing plans to implement DBT scheme in kerosene. Pradhan said in Lok Sabha that so far the petroleum products have been kept out of the purview of the proposed Goods and Services Tax but an in-principle decision has been taken to bring petroleum products under it.
"The petroleum products will be brought under the GST but I don't know when. Since we have a federal structure, we have to get the consent of the states. We are exploring various ways," he said during Question Hour.
The Minister said many states are against bringing the petroleum products under the ambit of GST as it was a huge revenue generating source for them.
Pradhan said except Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and a few Union Territories, most of the states have increased taxes on petroleum products and it was difficult to bring a uniform tax rate across the country. The Minister said government was planning to implement the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme in kerosene after its successful implementation in LPG. "75 per cent profits to be incurred through the DBT in kerosene would be distributed among the states," he said. Pradhan said plans are afoot to make Haryana a kerosene- free state after making Delhi and a few other UTs kerosene-free.
Replying to a supplementary, the Minister refuted allegations that despite a fall in the international crude prices, retail prices in the country have not reduced saying petrol prices were slashed 27 times and diesel prices 21 times in last two years.
Pradhan said despite international crude prices going down, cost of refining, transportation and other costs have not gone down. He said India being a welfare state, the benefits are being passed on to the people by way of better roads, good hospitals and other facilities. Earlier, pradhan has said that Centre would not force Tamil Nadu to implement coal-bed methane project. "Government of India is not going to force or apply force. After consulting and take local community and the state government into confidence then only we can proceed (on the project)," he said. He was talking to reporters on the sidelines of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Chennai Petroleum Corporation, a subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation, at Manali near here.
Pradhan's comments have comes in the backdrop of Tamil Nadu government halting the project in 2013, by Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd in delta districts following the apprehensions of farmers who feared that the project would affect agricultural operations.