Former Union Minister S Jaipal Reddy on Tuesday said petrol and diesel should be brought under the ambit of Goods and Services Tax (GST) for better “predictability” of prices. Echoing views expressed by Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas earlier, Reddy said state governments should reduce their VAT on the fossil fuel. “I support the demand that the state government(s) must also decrease their tax. But while increasing their own tax and increasing the rate, they (the Centre) is trying to pass on the burden or blame to the states,” Reddy, a former Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, told reporters in Hyderabad.
Pradhan had earlier indicated that he was requesting the Finance Minister and GST Council to bring petrol and diesel under the GST purview. Pradhan had recently urged all states to reduce VAT on the fuel in their respective states so as to bring down the prices. “I am for bringing the petroleum products under GST so that there is predictability for the consumer and for the economy,” Reddy said. He also opined that considering the current international crude oil prices the petrol prices should be around Rs 40.
He said when the UPA was in power in 2008, the international crude prices were at USD 140 and after he became the Minister it was USD 110. Now it is hovering around USD 50 or USD 54 for so long time. Though the current pricing scenario is “boon” to a country like India which is net importer of oil, it has become a “curse” due to the actions of present NDA government, Reddy said. “It is a boon from the international market. But they (Modi Government) has converted it into a curse on people,” he said.
According to Reddy, fiscal deficit that, otherwise, would have been caused by “losses” due to GST implementation and demonetisation was offset by the revenue that it got by levying extra taxes on petrol and diesel. He said the Centre has been collecting Rs two lakh crore per annum from consumers towards taxes on petrol and diesel totaling to about Rs six lakh crore during the past three years.
Reacting to the reported left out of Taj Mahal from the UP’s official tourism booklet, the Congress veteran demanded that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi should make his stand clear on the issue. “The Prime Minister should respond on the these baseless remarks. Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. There is no relation between culture and religion. I call upon Prime Minister Modi to make his stand clear on the question of Taj Mahal,” Reddy demanded.
Reddy alleged that the BJP’s agenda is to create divide between people.