Pressure mounts on State to reduce VAT on petrol, diesel
- With Gujarat, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh reducing Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel from Wednesday, towing the line of the Centre which reduced the Central Excise duty by Rs. 2 on October 4, other States, including Karnataka, are under pressure to reduce the rates.
- The reduction in the rates coincides with the demand by truckers and petroleum dealers to bring auto fuels under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
- Both sectors have sought uniform pricing across the country under the one nation, one tax concept to facilitate equality, both for operators and State governments.
- On 11th Oct, Uttarakhand too announced slashing VAT by 2% on auto fuel where petrol is taxed at 33.25% and diesel at 19.93%.
- Both the Central and State governments are reluctant to bring auto fuel under the GST in view of huge revenues they are generating through Central Excise and VAT.
- Centre’s revenues from petroleum products almost doubled from Rs. 1,72,066 crore in 2014–15 to Rs. 3,34,534 crore in 2016–17, while it would part with 42% of the earnings with the State governments. State governments’ earnings rose from Rs. 1,60,554 crore in 2014–15 to Rs. 1,89,770 crore in 2016–17.
- Maharashtra had mopped up the highest revenue, whose receipts from petroleum products increased from Rs. 19,795 crore in 2014–15 to Rs. 23,160 crore in 2016–17. Karnataka too witnessed substantial earnings, which rose from Rs. 8,668 crore to Rs. 11,103 crore during the period.
- While Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah ruled out any rollback in VAT on auto fuel, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) I.S.N. Prasad said he doubted if all States would agree for GST, during the next at least a year or so until the new tax regime stabilises.
BMRCL finally makes Phase II DPR public
- The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) on 12th Oct uploaded the detailed project report for Phase II of Namma Metro on their website bringing cheer to a large section of citizens who had been demanding that these documents be made public.
- BMRCL released the DPR for all four extensions of Phase I, the Gottigere-IIMB-Nagavara corridor and the R.V. Road to Bommasandra corridor.
- “This is a very good move, as people will now be able to study the DPR in detail. For those living along the Phase II lines, information about the station location, exits, execution of construction and reasons for selection of site for stations will now be clear,” said Sanjeev V. Dyamanavvar of Praja RAAG.
- The fight for making these documents public had been raging for the past few months with Members of Parliament P.C. Mohan and Ananth Kumar also demanding the same. Even Congress Member of Parliament Rajeev Gowda had recently spoken in favour of making the DPR public.
- In the past, BMRCL had stated that the DPR could not be made public as it was prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) which cites DPRs as being protected from sharing under the Right to Information Act 2005.
Growers protest against import of pepper
- Coffee growers of Sakleshpur, on Thursday, took out a protest march in the town protesting against the Centre’s alleged import of pepper from Vietnam.
- The growers alleged that the import has caused huge loss for the growers as the price of the commodity came down recently.
- Under the banner of Karnataka Growers’ Federation, the growers assembled at the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Sakleshpur and submitted a memorandum, addressed to Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry.
- Federation president B.S. Jairam and general secretary U.M. Thirthamallesh led the protest.
- The price of pepper in the local market was around Rs. 660 per kg last year. However, it has come down to Rs. 380 this year.
- The protesters said the import of low-quality pepper to India from Vietnam had hit rates in India.
- Growers are in crisis as the prices came down by almost 40%. Pepper imported from Vietnam is said to have residues that can cause serious health problems.
- The government should stop the import and stand by growers of the country,” the protesters said in the memorandum.
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