Representative file image. | Photo credit: AM FARUQUI
The Center is ready to place gasoline and diesel under GST, but states are unlikely to agree to such a move, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on November 14. .
“To put gasoline and diesel under the GST, the States must agree. If the States move, we are ready. We have been ready all along. This is my understanding. How to implement it is another question. This question should be directed to the Minister of Finance,” Mr Puri told reporters here.
The minister, however, stressed that states are unlikely to agree to such a move, as alcohol and energy are revenue-generating items for them.
“It’s not hard to understand, they (the states) get income from it. Someone who earns income, why would they leave? Alcohol and energy are two things that generate income. only the central government is worried about inflation and other things,” he added.
The Union Minister said the Kerala High Court had suggested the matter be referred to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Board for discussion at its last meeting in Lucknow.
“That state’s finance minister disagreed. When it comes to the GST, your wishes and my wishes aside, we are in a cooperative federal system,” he said.
When asked if people could expect some respite in terms of fuel prices, the minister said India had seen one of the smallest price increases in the past year. .
“I am surprised by your question. In a lighter vein, people ask me when prices will go up again. In North America, fuel prices have increased by 43% in one year, but in India, they have only increased by 2%.
“If there is a silver lining anywhere in the world, it is India. It’s not me saying it, it’s Morgan Stanley. It’s the Managing Director of the IMF saying that,” Mr. Puri said.
The Minister said that India has been able to hedge against rising fuel prices by taking a number of measures including reduction of excise duties by the Centre.
“Some countries in our neighborhood are experiencing fuel shortages and the prices are exorbitant. But we have not had a shortage, even in remote parts of the country. It was a very strong navigation at the level of the Center and the states. What will happen in the future is hard to say.
“During the Covid in March 2020, the price of a barrel of oil had fallen to 19 dollars. 56 which is now $96. I am not answering hypothetical questions, but the efforts of the central government will be that prices remain stable,” he said.