New Delhi, Mar 14 (PTI) Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday informed the Rajya Sabha that nine states, including Maharashtra and Kerala, have not reduced VAT on petrol and diesel.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas minister also informed the house that fuel prices have gone up by over 50 per cent in many countries but have remained stable and risen by a mere 5 per cent in India during the pandemic.
'All elected representatives should be rejoicing at the fact that the prices of petrol paid by the consumer have remained steady during the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021,' he told the house.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, he said levying of taxes is done going by the situation at that point of time and were raised at the time of the pandemic but have been reduced since.
'We brought down the central excise, but nine states have still not brought down taxes. We are willing to take such steps that are necessary to control the price at the bunk.
'We have reduced oil prices. We are ready to take other steps. Some states have not reduced taxes. There are nine states, including Maharashtra and Kerala, that have not reduced taxes on petrol and diesel,' the minister said.
Sharing comparative price data from the US, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Spain and India, Puri said, 'All these countries have seen prices of petrol go up by 50 to 55 and 58 percent, but in India it has only gone up by 5 percent. We should be rejoicing in that. Instead we are hearing why prices have gone up.'
To a supplementary by a BJP member that many states have not reduced VAT on petrol and the highest prices are in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Kerala, the minister said, 'I would assure the member that whatever limited margins of persuasion we have to reduce VAT charges on petrol and diesel, as prices have been exceptionally high.'
On Russia offering discounts on crude oil, Puri said in a situation characterised by the pandemic in the last two years and the military action taking place between Russia and Ukraine 'the government will explore all options which are available'.
He said he has had conversations at appropriate levels of the Russian Federation and discussions are currently underway.
'It is a dynamic situation characterised by military warfare, I would be happy to share details when finalised,'he said.
The minister also informed that petrol and diesel prices were deregulated in June 2010 and April 2014 respectively and would be determined by international pricing.
In his written reply, the minister said, 'The Central Government reduced the Central Excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and Rs 10 per litre respectively effective from 4th November, 2021.
The measure was aimed to give a further fillip to the economy and to boost consumption and keep inflation low, thus helping the poor and middle classes. Many States/UTs have also reduced the VAT on petrol and diesel subsequently.'
Giving details of the amount collected by the Union Government by levying excise duty (including cesses) on petroleum products during the last three years and current year, the minister informed that in 2018-29 the total duty collected was Rs 2.14 lakh crore and in 2019-20 it was Rs 2.23 lakh crore, which went up to Rs 3.73 lakh crore in 2020-21.
During the current year from April to September, the total duty collected from petroleum products was Rs 1.71 lakh crore, based on data from 16 major oil and gas companies.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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