Centre should forego cess to reduce petrol, diesel prices: Kerala Finance Minister
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal on Wednesday said inclusion of petroleum products under the GST (goods and services tax) would not help reduce fuel prices and that prices would go down only if the Centre foregoes the cess on petrol and diesel.
To counter the claim that inclusion of petrol and diesel under the GST would bring fuel prices down, the Minister cited the rising prices of gas, which is already under the GST.
While replying to a call attention motion moved by senior Congress MLA Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan in the State Assembly today, Balagopal blamed the Central government's decision in 2014 that allowed oil companies to determine the price of petrol and diesel.
His comments come against the backdrop of petrol and diesel prices touching an all-time high.
Balagopal said when the LDF government came to power in 2016, the sales taxes on petrol and diesel were 31.80 per cent and 24.52 per cent respectively.
In 2018, the government reduced that tax on them to 30.8 per cent and 22.76 per cent respectively. Since then, there has been no hike in the taxes, the Minister said.
Noting that the Central government has increased the cess on the fuels, which was the reason for their price rise, the Minister said prices of petrol and diesel can be reduced if the Centre decides to forego the cess.
He said there had been a 247.41 per cent and 792 per cent increase in the Centre's cess levied on petrol and diesel respectively.
"The income generated from the cess is not shared with the State government. So, if the Centre wants to help reduce the burden of fuel price hike, it should forego the revenue generated through excess cess," he said.
He said Rs 524 was the price of gas in 2017 and now it has touched Rs 910.
The argument that inclusion of fuel under GST would bring down its price is not correct, Balagopal said. PTI