Centre, States need to think about reducing taxes on petrol, diesel: Anurag Thakur
Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur on Monday told the Lok Sabha that the Centre and the States should work together towards reducing taxes on petrol and diesel and asserted that the Centre was ready to discuss the issue of bringing petroleum products under the ambit of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
In a written reply, however, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha that “at present, there is no proposal to bring crude petroleum, petrol, diesel, ATF and natural gas under GST”. However, while answering a supplementary question during the Question Hour, Mr. Thakur said the government was read to discuss the issue.
“If any State feels that petroleum products should be brought under GST then the Centre has no objection in discussing about it,” Mr. Thakur said. The Minister said while international crude prices in March 2020 were $19 per barrel, it is right now $65 per barrel.
“The Centre is ready to consider the idea of reducing the tax on petrol and diesel, the States should also consider it,” the Minister added.
During the Question Hour, Mr. Thakur also hit out at the Congress and targeted the Gandhi family in the presence of Rahul Gandhi when Congress MP Ranveet Bittu asked Mr. Thakur about Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) contributing to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund.
“They [migrant workers] did not get the benefits they should have got. LIC gave its funds only to PM Cares. Why is it so?” alleged Mr. Bittu and asked the Minister not to give a “political answer”.
Speaker Om Birla, in a lighter vein, remarked that “a political question will get a political reply”.
“There were instances where someone donated the entire pension amount to PM Cares Fund. Even those who got wages through MNREGA scheme also donated money to the PM Cares Fund just to help others,” Mr. Thakur said.
“But there is one family in the country who created the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and did the job of filling their accounts. Through the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, these people did not give priority to even the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. This party [Congress] did the job of filling [accounts] of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. They feel the pinch because their account has now been closed. Rajiv Gandhi Foundation also took money from China,” he added amidst protests from Congress members.