Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that the Central government wants to bring petroleum products under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax, IANS reported. However, he said, the Centre will wait till states reach a consensus on the matter.
“I do hope that at some stage sooner than later the states would agree to it,” Jaitley said.
During Question Hour in the Upper House, Jaitley said that the Constitution amendment, which has been passed and ratified by state assemblies, has not excluded petroleum products. However, he said, the decision to levy GST on these products can be made only after the Goods and Services Tax Council clears it with a three-fourths majority. He added that no further amendment to any law would be required.
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who was not satisfied with this answer, sought to know the Centre’s position on bringing petrol and diesel under the tax ambit, and asked why the prices of petrol and diesel did not decline with a fall in the global crude prices.
Jaitley replied that the previous United Progressive Alliance government, in its draft GST Bill had kept petrol out of the ambit since it knew “it would be a deal breaker with the states”.
“After a great deal of discussion, we persuaded states to bring petroleum products under GST,” Jaitley added. “Finally, the deal with the states was that the GST Council will move ahead for bringing petroleum products under GST only after the states would agree to it.”
Responding to the charges that fuel prices had not reduced, Jaitley said that a large share of duties on such products was levied by states. Though the Centre urged states to reduce the rates, not all have done so, he said. “The NDA-ruled states readily agreed to it but the UPA-ruled states refused to do so.”