Amidst the rise in fuel prices, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said she might take a call closer to the GST Council meeting about proposing to the Council to bring petrol and diesel under the goods and services tax (GST).
For consumers, "there is enough case to say that prices should be down, it's a burden", news agency PTI quoted Sitharaman as saying while interacting with journalists at Indian Women's Press Corps.
On being asked if the Centre will take a proposal for bringing petrol and diesel under GST to the GST Council in the next meeting likely this month, the finance minister said a call will be taken "closer to the date of the Council meeting."
She said the decision to bring the fuels under GST will have to be taken by the GST Council. "Whenever the GST Council decides to take up this issue, they are well within their interest to take it up and discuss. It's a call which the Council has to take," she said.
Sitharaman admitted that taxes on fuels should be brought down to reduce the burden on consumers, and called pricing a vexatious issue.
"That's where I use the word 'dharamsankat'," she said. "It is a question which I would like states and the Centre to talk about because it's not just the Centre which has duties on petroleum products, it also has the states charging."
Petrol and diesel prices have been on the rise for sometime now, with a litre of petrol crossing Rs 100 mark in some cities in states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Petrol and diesel are taxed heavily by both the Centre and states to mop up revenue.
A report by SBI economists, earlier this week, had said that bringing petrol and diesel under the ambit of GST can reduce their price to Rs 75 and Rs 68 per litre, respectively. At this base price, Centre and states would face revenue loss of only Rs 1 lakh crore, which is 0.4 per cent of the GDP.