The Centre favours including petroleum products within the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), but it would want a consensus among the States before taking such a step, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
During Question Hour, Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram sought to know the Centre’s position on bringing petrol and diesel under the GST.
He also sought to know why the prices of petrol and diesel did not decline with a fall in the global crude prices.
Mr. Jaitley said a person familiar with the issue had asked the question.
‘Issue a deal-breaker’
He said the previous UPA government in its draft GST Bill had kept petrol out of its ambit as it knew that the issue would be a deal-breaker between the Centre and the States.
“Now you are in the Opposition and have greater flexibility in changing your position,” Mr. Jaitley said.
He said the present government had persuaded the States to include petrol within the GST and the States reluctantly agreed to do so. However, it is only when the States demanded it and a consensus was formed, that it would be done.
Responding to the charge that petrol and diesel prices were not coming down in line with global prices, Mr. Jaitley said it has to be kept in mind that a large number of duties on these products were imposed by the States.
He said that on the Centres advice, many States had brought down these taxes but those ruled by the UPA (Congress and its allies) had not done so.