The Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) has opposed the civil aviation minister Praful Patels proposal to offer relief to the aviation industry by bringing aviation turbine fuel (ATF) under the value added tax (VAT) regime. Instead it wants to bring all petroleum products under VAT.
The aviation ministry has sought the inclusion of ATF in the declared goods category. That will make it pay uniform, concessional sales tax of 4% in all states under the VAT regime and will mainly benefit private air carriers. This concession, the ministry has argued, would bring down the high ATF prices in India and help the industry come out of the red.
If accepted it would mean gross injustice to the common man while subsidising air travel, said Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, convenor of the partys cell on essential commodities. Instead, he proposed inclusion of petrol and diesel along with the ATF in the category of declared goods, so that a uniform VAT regime governs the prices of petrol and diesel across the country. Last week, Mr Gidwani called on party president Sonia Gandhi regarding this issue.
Mr Gidwani pointed out that the concession being demanded by the civil aviation ministry is mainly for private carriers. He said that the government must understand that private carriers are running on their own steam and strength.
Their profit or losses should never be the concern of the government.
Under no circumstances should the aviation ministrys proposal be considered in isolation. It would be unfair to consider VAT for ATF and not for petrol and diesel. It implies that the government is considering lowering the tax for those who can afford to fly and not for the common man who is using two wheelers and common modes of transport and bearing the brunt of fuel price rise, Mr Gidwani said.
The AICC member referred to the correspondence between aviation minister Praful Patel and finance minister P Chidambaram on this issue. Mr Gidwani had made a similar demand in May 2005 in a letter to Mr Patel, following which the latter had taken up the issue with the finance ministry.
Let us keep in mind the increase in fuel price is affecting the common man, who cannot even use vehicular transport. The rising fuel prices have also contributed to the increase in the prices of essential commodities, the letter says.