Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said officials from her ministry are in discussions with Cairn Energy Plc and Vodafone Plc on the closure of retrospective tax cases, refund and settlement.
Earlier this month, Parliament passed a bill to scrap all tax demands made using the 2012 retrospective tax legislations. The bill provides for government refunding the retro tax to companies, provided all legal challenges are withdrawn.
Sitharaman said the rules that will lead to the scrapping of the retrospective tax demands made on companies such as Cairn and Vodafone will be framed soon.
However, the finance minister said she herself has not had any discussions with the companies on the issue of retrospective tax and the closure of cases.
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On inflation, the finance minister said she expects it to remain contained within the central bank's range of 4(+/- 2) per cent in the coming months, but ruled out any cut in excise duty for petrol and diesel which are selling at all-time high prices.
Sitharaman said the Centre is paying through its nose on oil bonds of the UPA era. She called the oil bonds as "trickery" of the UPA government which is acting as an "unfair burden".
The previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre had issued bonds to state-owned oil companies to make up for the difference in the artificially suppressed retail selling price of fuel and the cost. These oil bonds and the interest thereon are being paid now.
"If I did not have the burden to service Rs 1,34,423 crore of oil bonds issued by the UPA, I would have also been able to reduce fuel prices," Sitharaman said. The NDA government paid nearly Rs 70,196 crore interest between FY15-21. "Current principal outstanding on the UPA era oil bonds is Rs 1,30,923 crore," she said.
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