Amid Opposition protests against the surge in fuel prices, the Maharashtra government is planning to push its proposal to include petrol and diesel under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as a measure to bring down their prices. “At the GST council meeting on September 28, the Maharashtra government will press for the inclusion of diesel and petrol under GST. This will help bring down fuel prices and ensure a level-playing field in the state,” Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said.
Mungantiwar ruled out a further reduction in the Value Added Tax (VAT) to bring down the fuel prices. “Maharashtra was the first to cut down VAT on petrol and diesel in the recent past. We have already given tax concession through VAT amounting to Rs 3,067 crore on diesel and petrol. Any further reduction is not practical,” he said.
“Moreover, the state government has proposed including diesel and petrol under GST already twice. We want to pursue the GST proposal as it’s the most practical way to reduce the fuel prices,” he said.
Dismissing the recommendations of the opposition Congress-NCP and alliance partner Shiv Sena, which want the state government to take quick measures to bring down the fuel prices, Mungantiwar said, “The larger question is, why are the Opposition parties, which are taking to the streets on fuel price hike, not supporting our proposal to bring petrol and diesel under GST?”
It may be noted that all the BJP-ruled states are in favour of including petrol and diesel under GST, while states not ruled by the party are not in its favour, fearing huge loss of revenue. The biggest challenge for the GST council is to get all state governments on board to evolve a consensus.
The VAT on petrol and diesel in Maharashtra is 25 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively. The revenue earned from VAT on diesel and petrol amounts to Rs 21,000 crore.