Chidambaram questions Jaitley's push to bring petroleum products under GST

Former finance minister P Chidambaram Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 19, 2017, 07.54 AM (IST)

Sparks flew in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday as the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress traded charges over bringing petroleum products under the purview of Goods and Service Tax (GST).   

Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram said now that BJP is in power in 19 states, what prevents them from bringing petroleum products under GST.

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''Now that BJP is in power in 19 states and at the Centre what prevents them from bringing petroleum products under GST? When will the GST Council take up this subject,'' P Chidambaram said in Rajya Sabha.

Responding to Chidambaram, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that they are in favour of bringing petroleum products under GST. 

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''We are in favour of bringing petroleum products under GST. We would await consensus of the states and hope states agree to the consensus sooner or later,'' said Jaitley.

Since the GST came into effect, bringing petroleum products under the purview of GST has been a contentious issue with Congress accusing BJP led NDA government of dragging its feet on the matter.  

Amid an outcry over spiralling fuel prices, state governments, including those ruled by the BJP, are opposing petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s suggestion that petroleum products should be brought under the Goods and Service Tax (GST).

States say the move would adversely impact their revenue, which has increased by almost 50 per cent for most states in the past three years on account of high value-added (VAT) tax.

Consumers pay more than 100 per cent tax –central and state levies combined -- on petrol and diesel which actually cost Rs 29.53 and Rs 29.12 after refining.

The Centre levies excise duty of Rs 21.14 on petrol and Rs 17.33 on diesel and the states impose value-added tax that ranges between 20-47 per cent.