Mudda panellists feel that the government should consider bringing oil prices under the GST umbrella, it has been using these as revenue source with agriculture and manufacturing outputs going down
On January 16, diesel price touched Rs 61.74 a litre in Delhi, while petrol hit Rs 71.18 a litre, the highest since August 1, 2014. Crude oil price continues to advance in global markets, impacting India’s oil import bill and inflation.
APN’s popular debate Mudda took up the issue. Anchorperson Akshay Singh spoke to panellists including Congress’s Hilal Naqvi, BJP’s Naveen Shrivastava, UP Petrol Pump Dealers Association president Daya Shanker, economist Dr Ravi Singh, political expert Ravindra Singh, and APN consultant Govind Pant Raju.
Dr Ravi Singh said the Modi government must show to be sensitive to the plight of the common man. “Subsidy schemes are not needed. What’s needed is the lessening of petrol and diesel tax. The government’s biggest revenue is from petrol and diesel, and so it hikes the taxes.”
Shrivastava said when the BJP came to power at the centre, Iran needed to be paid back for the oil purchased by the earlier UPA government, so the government had to increase its revenue. “The Modi government does not want to burden the common man,” he added.
Naqvi said that Shrivastava’s point is not clear. “How can he allege that the Congress government had not paid Iran? Taxes are going up. The government’s shoddy economic policies are responsible for the mess,” he said.
Ravindra Singh pointed out that when the Congress governments used to increase prices of petrol and diesel, BJP leaders would sit on dharna. Now it should see how it can alleviate the problem. “Why are these prices lesser in other countries? That’s because the taxes there are lower,” he said.
Raju said that 90 percent oil companies are with the government. Costs of machinery go a long way in adding to the expenses of the oil companies. The end user has to suffer. “If the government wants to do something for the people, petrol and diesel prices should come under GST,” he said.
Dr Ravi Singh said since it’s a large part of revenue of the government, a lot more thought needs to be put into it.
Shrivastava said that the government is worried about the common man. Since it’s concerned about sabka saath, sabka vikas (inclusive governance), it shall indeed do something to check the spiraling oil prices
Daya Shanker said the common man is worried as the prices are increasing at an alarming rate.
Naqvi asked why the prices cannot remain stable for a considerable period. He said that the government is only focusing on its profit. Secondly, he added, the prices of petrol and diesel during the UPA government and now internationally are nearly the same; the only difference is that the taxes are more now. He said that this is because the manufacturing and agriculture sector are doing poorly, and the government sees oil prices as a major revenue source.
Raju added that the government needs to do something urgently, or else it would affect the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
Ravinder Singh said that in Gujarat, prices went down before the polls. The government should think beyond profit, and should consider bringing oil prices under the GST umbrella.
-Compiled by Niti Singh Bhandari