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Saturday,23-October-2021

Business

GST Council meet today: Covid relief, bringing oil and gas indirect tax regime on agenda

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Finance Minister

 The GST Council will meet in Lucknow on Friday to take decisions on issues related to duty revision that were put on the back burner in earlier meetings to focus on the Covid relief measures amid rising cases during the second wave of the pandemic.

The meeting, however, is expected to announce a few more Covid relief measures particularly on compliance matters.

It will also announce a few measures to correct the inverted duty while discussing the compensation cess dues arising in 2021-22.

Two other important items, including lowering of GST rates for two-wheelers and bringing natural gas into the indirect tax fold may also be included in the agenda for discussion.

“Finance Minister Smt. @nsitharaman will chair the 45th GST Council meeting at 11 AM in Lucknow today. The meeting will be attended by MOS Shri @mppchaudhary besides Finance Ministers of States & UTs and Senior officers from Union Government & States,” the Ministry of Finance said in a tweet.

The GST Council has already met twice this year when the panel of finance ministers discussed GST compensation and the borrowing formula offered by the Centre towards compensating states for GST shortfall while also announcing a series of duty relief and easing of compliance measures towards Covid relief.

The 45th meeting of the council is expected to again discuss the compensation issue for the current year, but sources said it may also take a few steps to correct inverted duty structure without pursuing any increase in the GST rates or move towards converging GST to three rate structure.

Sources also said that the council at the meeting may also take up two other important items, including lowering of GST rates for two-wheelers and bringing natural gas into the indirect tax fold.

A top source in the finance ministry said that inverted duty correction, GST cut on two-wheelers and inclusion of natural gas into GST fold are on the agenda and hopefully the council will offer some solution that is in the best interest of all stakeholders.

Correction of inverted duty structure, especially in sectors such as fertilizer, steel utelsils, solar modules, tractors, tyres, electrical transformers, pharma, textile, fabric, railway locomotives among other goods is required.

Inverted duty refers to tax rates on inputs being higher than those levied on finished products. This results in higher input credit claims by goods besides several administrative and compliance issues.

Currently, while duty on imported tyres is 10 per cent, its inputs i.e. rubber attracts 20 per cent duty. Similarly, solar modules do not attract any duty while its components attract 5-10 per cent duty.

Similarly, the council may also consider lowering the GST rate of 28 per cent on two-wheelers to give a boost to its sales affected during the pandemic.

The Council has in principle agreed to include five petroleum products under GST, but has so far deferred its actual inclusion into the indirect as states fear a big loss of revenue. But now, the government is considering bringing natural gas under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime to begin with as it would be difficult to bring the entire oil and gas sector immediately under it.

Sources said that natural gas may be included under a three-tier GST structure where rates would vary depending on the usage. So, while piped natural gas (PNG) for homes may be kept at a lower rate of 5 per cent, commercial piped gas may attract the median 18 per cent GST rate and automobile fuel CNG may be kept in the highest bracket of 28 per cent.

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Business

No increase in fuel prices for 2nd consecutive day on Tuesday

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Petrol

 Petrol and diesel prices remained unchanged for the second consecutive on Tuesday providing relief to consumers who have been facing a regular increase in fuel prices in the past few months taking the retail rates to historic high levels.

With no revision, the price of petrol in Delhi remained Rs 105.84 a litre and Rs 111.77 per litre in Mumbai, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers. In Mumbai, diesel rates also remained static at Rs 102.52 a litre; while in Delhi it costs Rs 94.57, the same as on Sunday.

The price pause comes after the rates rose for four straight days when the rates of both petrol and diesel rose by Rs 1.40 paise per litre. There was no change in the rates also on October 12 and 13.

Diesel prices have increased on 19 out of the last 25 days taking up its retail price by Rs 5.95 per litre in Delhi.

With diesel prices rising sharply, the fuel is now available at over Rs 100 a litre in several parts of the country. This dubious distinction was earlier available to petrol that had crossed Rs 100 a litre-mark across the country a few months earlier.

Petrol prices had maintained stability since September 5, but oil companies finally raised the pump prices last week. Petrol prices have also risen on 16 of the previous 21 days taking up the pump price by Rs 4.65 per litre.

Crude prices have been on a surge rising over a three-year high level of over $ 85.7 a barrel now. It has softened a bit, falling below $ 85 a barrel now. Since September 5, when both petrol and diesel prices were revised, the price of petrol and diesel in the international market is higher by around $9-10 per barrel as compared to the average prices during August.

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Business

Markets open on a positive note

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Bombay-Stock-Exchange

 The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on Tuesday opened on a positive note during the morning trade.

The Sensex of the BSE opened at 62,156.48 points and touched a high of 62,159.29 points. The Sensex touched a low of 61,964.41 points.

On Monday, the Sensex closed at 61,765.59 points.

The Sensex is trading at 62,061.59 points, up by 296.00 points or 0.48 per cent.

On the other hand, the broader 50-scrip Nifty at National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at lower note at 18,602.35 points after closing at 18,477.05 points.

The Nifty is trading at 18,549.55 points in the morning.

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Petrol, diesel prices rise again, burn bigger holes in consumers’ pockets

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Petrol

 Petrol and diesel price rose again on Friday taking its retail rates to record high levels across the country affecting consumers this festive season.

Accordingly, in the national capital, petrol and diesel prices increased by 35 paisa per litre to Rs 105.14 per litre and Rs 93.87 per litre, respectively.

In India’s financial capital of Mumbai, petrol became costlier by 34 paisa per litre to Rs 111.09 a litre on Friday, the highest across all the four metro cities. Diesel also costs Rs 101.77 for one litre in Mumbai.

The price hike on Friday is for a second consecutive day after the rates remained static on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Diesel prices now have increased on 17 out of the last 21 days taking up its retail price by Rs 5.25 per litre in Delhi.

With diesel price rising sharply, the fuel is now available at over Rs 100 a litre in several parts of the country. This dubious distinction was earlier available to petrol that had crossed Rs 100 a litre mark across the country a few months earlier.

Petrol prices had maintained stability since September 5 but oil companies finally raised its pump prices last week and this week given a spurt in the product prices lately. Petrol prices have also risen on 14 of the previous 17 days taking up its pump price by Rs 3.95 per litre.

OMCs had preferred to maintain their watch prices on global oil situation before making any revision in prices. This is the reason why petrol prices were not revised for last three weeks. But extreme volatility in global oil price movement has now pushed OMCs to effect the increase.

Crude price has been on a surge rising over three year high level of over $84.5 a barrel now. Since September 5 when both petrol and diesel prices were revised, the price of petrol and diesel in the international market is higher by around $9-10 per barrel as compared to average prices during August.

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