The price of petrol touched Rs 80.25 per litre on Tuesday due to international fuel spikes, marking a highest in three years. In a bid to control the fluctuating rates, Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that his ministry is trying to bring petrol, diesel and kerosene under GST and hopes that the GST Council agrees with it.
Daily changing rates of fossil fuels across country has created quite a stir and it got aggravated when the price of petrol touched Rs 80.25 mark, which wasn’t seen since 2014. Indian oil ministry said that they are pushing for a cut in excise duty on petrol and diesel in Budget 2018 – which will cushion out the impact of rising fuel prices. The rise on Tuesday was a result of international market petroleum rate hikes and as a matter of fact, India has highest retail prices of petrol and diesel across South Asia – thanks to multiple layers of taxes which range from as high as 40-50% of the actual rates of petrol.
In Ujjain, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said during a press conference, “We are trying that petrol, diesel and kerosene should also come under the ambit of GST. We are hopeful that the GST Council will agree to it shortly.” If implemented under GST, the prices of petroleum-based fuels will significantly lower for sure since it is not just excise duty, but the state governments levy cess and VAT and then the petrol pump owners have their commission – it makes the entire costing system of petroleum fuels bulkily layers – all on the shoulders of almost every Indian citizen.
However, a Union Oil Ministry spokesperson informed that the Oil Ministry can only make recommendations during Budget and the final decision will be made by the Finance Ministry. Also, since it is about GST, the final decision on that will also be made with regard to the GST Council – the glitch here is that most members of the council are state-lawmakers. Now if petroleum fuels are taken under GST blanket, the huge-extra-income that directly state governments earn from fuels would cut off – and nobody would kill a hen laying golden eggs, would they?