Fuel price hike rocks Odisha Assembly

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Bhubaneswar: The State Government again came down heavily on the Central Government for not reducing value added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel to provide cushion to consumers.

The retail price of petrol and diesel will automatically come down if the Centre reduces the central excise and additional duties,” Finance Minister Shashi Bhusan Behera told the Assembly on Wednesday.

Replying to admissibility of an adjournment motion of the Congress, Behera said the State will take a decision on the inclusion of petrol and diesel under the purview of Goods and Services Tax (GST) when such a proposal is brought in the GST council.

Inclusion of petrol and diesel under the purview of GST will only be decided after such a proposal is brought in the GST Council by the chairman of the council, Behera added.

Union Finance Minister is the chairman of the council, Behera added. Behera said the Empowered Committee comprising Finance Ministers of different States had decided to keep six items including petrol, diesel and liquor out of the GST purview. GST was rolled out across the country from July 1 last year. Noting that the Centre has increased the Central excise, additional excise and cess nine times since April 2014, Behera said the total tax imposed on petrol is Rs 19.48 per litre which is Rs 10 more.

He suggested the Centre to reduce the rate of Central excise and additional taxes on petrol and diesel to provide some relief to the people across the country. While responding to suggestions from the Opposition Congress and BJP to the State Government to either reduce VAT or bring petrol and diesel under the purview of the GST to reduce the price of fuel, said Behera.

Moving the motion, Tara Prasad Bahinipati attacked the Narendra Modi Government at Centre for looting the people. Lambasting the Centre for the soaring prices of the fuels, Leader of Opposition said GST was implemented with the slogan “One Nation One Tax”.

However, in case of petrol and diesel different rates of tax is collected in different States. “Any amount of condemnation of the Central Government will be insufficient,” Mishra said and urged the Centre to drastically reduce excise duty on the petroleum products.

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