New Delhi: An important Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meet ahead of the Union Budget is scheduled on Thursday (January 18). It is widely expected that the soaring petrol prices may remain key issue of discussion at the GST Council meeting led by finance minister Arun Jaitley.
The Council in all likelihood may try to reach to a conclusion on this, however a serious decision on this will depend on the willingness of the states to cut down on the VAT.
Last week, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had responded to questions on whether the Centre would cut excise duty on the two fuel, by asking states to first cut VAT.
Two the most traded benchmark crude globally have risen the most since December 2014 - Brent touched USD 70.05 a barrel last week and WTI reached USD 64.77.
The rally in oil prices has renewed calls to the government to cut excise duty to cushion burden on common man.
The BJP-led NDA government has during its tenure cut excise duty only once - by Rs 2 per litre in October 2017 when petrol price had reached Rs 70.88 per litre in Delhi and diesel was priced at Rs 59.14.
Because of the excise duty cut, diesel prices had on October 4, 2017 come down to Rs 56.89 and petrol to Rs 68.38. However, subsequent rally has wiped away all the gains and prices have touched new highs.
Petrol prices were hiked by 12 paise and diesel prices were raised by 18 paise per litre today.
Diesel prices today touched a record high of Rs 62.06 per litre and petrol prices have crossed Rs 71 as international oil rates continue to rally.
Petrol price rose to Rs 71. 39 per litre in Delhi today, the highest since August 2014, according to daily fuel price list of state-owned oil firms.
The GST Council is also likely to give nod to rationalisation of rates on over 60-70 items. Sources have said that the Council may also deliberate on whether or not real estate should be brought under the ambit of the taxation scheme.