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GST should be imposed on renewable equipment imports: Piyush Goyal

PTI     July 11, 2016

Power Ministry is not pitching for keeping renewable energy equipment out of the purview of proposed GST but wants a level-playing field for domestic manufactures, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said on Monday.

"Ideally we should put GST (rate) on imports so that it becomes a level-playing field and domestic manufacturing are not at disadvantage. Today there is an inverted (duty) structure. Domestic (manufacturers) are paying more taxes than imports," Goyal, the Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister, said.

He was replying to a query whether the Power Ministry has proposed to keep renewable energy equipment out of the GST regime.

The proposed Goods and Services Tax law, which seeks to subsumes all central and state levies including excise, service tax and sales tax, is stuck in the Rajya Sabha.

Speaking on the idea of keeping the renewables out of GST, Goyal said, "Some manufacturing people did talk to me. I don't think we should keep it out of GST. My approach is different.

We have to create a level-playing field. So, GST (rate) should be on imports (of renewable)."

Asked whether his ministry has made any proposal over the same, he said, "To the best of my remembrance, I don't think I would have asked for something like that. I believe that we should keep minimum distortion in the GST regime."

Pitching for passage of the GST bill, the minister suggested that there is a need to build a pressure so that the GST is cleared in this Monsoon session of Parliament beginning on July 18, 2016.

Goyal also indicated that Power Finance Corp and Rural Electrification Corp would soon come out with new products (loans) with lower rate of interest for renewable energy sector. The interest rates would be kept at around 7-8 per cent, lower than prevailing 11-12 per cent.

He also indicated that the coal linkage auction for power projects would be a reality soon as the Cabinet proposal in this regards has already been circulated.

"Our first concern is local people, there well being, their livelihood, health and environmental concern. That is our first priority, but not to say that it cannot be discussed or sorted out," the minister said when asked about issues with mining projects ,particularly in Odisha.

Assuring that he will talk to the state governments on issues related to mining project, he said, "I don't know about their level of commitment because POSCO (Korean Steel Major) has also gone away out of frustration."

In a lighter vein he said, "the state governments have old school of thought, keep people in poverty without any progress so that you can keep getting votes."


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