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Business News/ Politics / Policy/  Govt to press for inclusion of jet fuel in GST at meeting

Govt to press for inclusion of jet fuel in GST at meeting

The finance minister also said she would talk to banks to ensure liquidity support to sectors that need it

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman  (Photo: Mint)Premium
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman  (Photo: Mint)

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Centre would take forward the industry proposal for bringing jet fuel, a key input for the distressed airline industry, under the goods and services tax (GST) regime.

Speaking at a virtual post-budget interaction organized by industry body Assocham on Sunday, Sitharaman also said the government is keeping a close watch on global inflationary trends.

“On GST, as you have pointed out, it is not with me alone. It has got to go to the GST Council. So the next time we meet in the council, I will put it on the table for them to discuss it."

Jet fuel is among five items not included in GST.

The others are crude oil, petrol, diesel and natural gas.

At a separate industry interaction on Sunday, the minister said the government was keeping a close watch on global inflationary pressures and that it would not allow the Indian economy to suffer due to any lack of preparation.

Speaking at an event organized by industry body FICCI, Sitharaman said that post the 2008-09 financial crisis, the liquidity taps were not shut at the proper time. As a result, she said India became one of the fragile five nations.

“The taper tantrum was not addressed at all. We have learned from the last crises. We are keeping a close look at the global inflationary pressure, and we will not allow the Indian economy to suffer from the want of preparation," she said.

Sitharaman had assured businesses a day before at another post-budget interaction organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) that the government has a contingency plan for handling external factors for the economy, including those arising from an interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve.

At the Assocham meeting, she gave an assurance that the government was working on quickly resolving legacy fiscal stress among power distribution utilities as part of efforts to meet India’s climate change goals.

She also said she would talk to banks to ensure liquidity support to sectors that need it.

In response to industry suggestions for sending out further signals against dumping of ferrous and non-ferrous metals into India, the minister said the competing demands of different sections of the industry—large-scale metal producers competing with low-cost imports—and the need for small businesses to have access to affordable raw materials posed a policy dilemma.

“While we do not want dumping, we also want the price to be at affordable levels for MSMEs," the minister said.

Sitharaman said the government was addressing the entrenched issues in the power sector, layer by layer. Problems faced by the sector are legacy problems.

“We will get that cleared out of the way so that futuristic financing and better partnership can be worked out. This is not going to be long drawn. We would like to very quickly sort this out because we understand the criticality of the sector," Sitharaman said.

She added that it was important for this sector to be buoyant in order to meet India’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.

On Sunday, Sitharaman also said the LIC initial public offering would happen soon. The minister explained that there was a sense of caution that nothing should be found wanting in the process of divestment. “So they (officials) do take their extra precautionary care. I would rather go on that road than push them over to speedily conclude. Yes, I am interested in finishing the commitments given in last year’s budget," she said.

The government has set a disinvestment target of 65,000 crore in FY23. It also slashed the divestment target for FY22 to 78,000 crore from 1.75 trillion.

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Published: 07 Feb 2022, 01:09 AM IST
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