GST Council meeting may try to douse the fuel price fire

Marco Green
January 18, 2018

"This is probably the most taxed product", he said, adding that if the Centre wants to follow a "one nation, one tax" principle, then petroleum should not be kept out of the GST's purview. "We are not against the introduction of e-way bills, but it should not be introduced without adequate preparedness".

On the eve of the GST Council meeting which is expected to make some major changes in the GST law, Manpreet Badal, finance minister of Congress-ruled Punjab, has said that Congress finance ministers in the Council will seek more consultations with stakeholders for a greater clarity rather than rush with "piece-meal changes".

Noting the country has lost an opportunity to set the tax administartion right, Badal expressed concern over the rising representations against GST.

The BJP-led NDA government had cut excise duty only once - by Rs 2 per litre in October 2017 when petrol price had also reached Rs 70.88 per litre in Delhi and diesel was priced at Rs 59.14.

The rally in oil prices has renewed calls to the government to cut excise duty to cushion burden on common man.

On top of it, he said, the government was rolling out the e-way bill from February 1.

The Punjab government also sought the inclusion of petroleum and real estate under GST, with Badal saying these will be the two key issues which will be raised by the Congress at Thursday's meeting. Bringing petroleum prices under GST will provide relief to the consumers, he said.

The Congress leader said GST revenues were in a state of constant decline with the latest numbers for November showing "abysmal collections" of Rs 80,800 crore.

He said the future "sounds scary" in view of the extent of litigation that would arise out of the "ill-conceived provisions" put into effect in a hurry. Punjab has got a near 40 per cent gap in revenues and I don t see that being met after the initial period of assured compensation is over.

GST was meant to be a simple tax that could help in controlling inflation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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