Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Nov 12, 2002
Industry & Economy
Uniform ST on petro goods likely from April
The Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Ram Naik (left), with the Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr B.K. Chaturvedi, addressing a press conference in Mumbai on Monday.
MUMBAI, Nov. 11
THE Centre plans to introduce uniform sales tax on petroleum products in all States by April 2003.
The rates will be fixed as per the planned value-added tax, the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Ram Naik, said here on Monday.
Mr Naik told newspersons that the Centre was considering penalties such as lowering aid to the State Governments, which did not pass on to consumers the benefit of lowered Central taxes and product prices.
``Some States have extremely high sales taxes. For example, Maharashtra has 34 per cent sales tax on diesel and 30 per cent on petrol. As a result, prices in the State are higher by almost Rs 5 in the case of diesel than those in other States. This needs to be addressed,'' Mr Naik said. He said the Government was also trying to seek infrastructure status for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.
``There is a considerable disparity in prices of imported LNG and natural gas. The differences widen because of customs and excise levies. This can be reduced if LNG projects are awarded infrastructure status,'' said Mr B.K. Chaturvedi, Petroleum Secretary.
CNG for Mumbai: Following the success achieved on propagating CNG in Delhi, the Centre has now stepped up efforts to increase CNG consumption in the financial capital.
The number of CNG stations in Mumbai will be increased to 46 from the present 34 within a month. By June 2003, the numbers will go up to 63, he said.
Mr Naik said a committee chaired by Mr S. Vijayaraghavan, Joint Secretary (Petroleum), had been formed to study the CNG prices in Mumbai. The committee will submit its report by December 31. A State-level committee to ``sort out administrative problems'' had also been formed under the chairmanship of the State Chief Secretary, Mr Ajit Nimbalkar.
To reduce high CNG prices, the Ministry is trying to seek sales tax and turnover tax exemptions from the State Government.
The LPG filling stations would also be increased to 23, from the present 11 by March 2003 and then to 32 by the year 2004, Mr Naik said.
NELP III results soon
THE Centre may announce the award of oil and gas blocks under the third round of National Exploration and Licensing Policy within the next 15 days, Mr Ram Naik said.
The announcement has been on hold because of delays in holding of a Cabinet meeting where the matter is to come up for discussion.
Bids for the fourth NELP round and coal bed methane blocks will be announced in April 2003, Mr Naik said.
For the third round of NELP announced in March this year, bids were received for 23 of the 27 oil and gas blocks on offer in August.
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