The Congress on Tuesday demanded that the five per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) levied on domestic cooking gas (LPG) cylinder be removed as it was burdening the poor. The domestic LPG price has shot up by up to Rs 32 per cylinder – the steepest increase in six years – following implementation of the GST. “The price of domestic LPG cylinder has gone up by Rs 32 in parts of the country after the GST became effective. This is affecting common people, the poor especially. We demand that the GST on domestic LPG cylinder be removed immediately,” senior AICC spokesperson Ajay Maken told reporters at New Delhi.
Subsidised LPG rates have been increased to Rs 477.46 per 14.2-kg cylinder from Rs 446.65 in Delhi after the GST was implemented from July 1.
Before the GST came into force, two to four per cent value added tax was imposed on the LPG in some states.
Maken accused the government of not passing on the benefits of drop in global crude oil prices to people of the country.
“The government is making profits to the tune of Rs 3 lakh crore every year by not slashing prices of fuel here. On the one hand, it is making profits and on the other, it is burdening the poor by imposing GST on the LPG cylinder,” Maken said.
He claimed that food and beverages, helmets, hair oil, toothpaste, tea, coffee, butter, curd, cement and mineral water were some of the items whose prices have shot up, notwithstanding the government’s assurance that their rates would drop once the GST was in force.
Maken also described the GST as ‘Gayi Savings Tumhari’ (your savings have vanished).
The former Union minister said the government’s recent decision to lower interest rates on small saving schemes like PPF, Kisan Vikas Patra and Sukanya Samriddhi by 0.1 per cent for the July-September quarter would also affect the poor including labourers.
“It is a big blow to the common people, particularly the poor, labourers. You are collecting more taxes through the GST, but are also hurting savings of the people by such a decision,” he said.