Gujarat has lions share of gas, still charges highest VAT
August, 20th 2012
Gujarat gets the highest share of gas supplies in the country, yet charges the highest Value Added Tax (VAT) from its citizens and supplies cheap gas to industrial houses. This was stated by Union minister of state for petroleum and natural gas RPN Singh, who was in the city on Sunday.
The minister was reacting to anonymous advertisements in TV news channels over the last few days, which alleged that the Centre was doing injustice to Gujarat by allocating minuscule gas supply.
Singh said that in 2010-11 , Gujarat was supplied 63.25 million metric standard cubic metres per day (MMSCMD) of natural gas which was close to 40% of the nation's total supply of 162.1 MMSCMD. This year Gujarat was allocated 33.42% of the total 153.53 MMSCMD gas supplied in the country.
"The Gujarat government, instead, owes an explanation to its people on why it charges the highest VAT on petroleum products in the country at 15%. The middle class is the most hit. Elsewhere in the country, VAT is charged any where between 0 and 4%," Singh said. In terms of domestic gas supply , which is sold through administered price mechanism (APM), Gujarat gets the lion's share of 27% in the country according to the minister.
Delhi gets 8% and Maharashtra 15%. Besides, the APM gas that reaches homes as piped natural gas (PNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) at stations is supplied to Gujarat, Delhi and Maharashtra at US$ 4.2 per million metric British thermal units.
Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia added, "Cheap central gas was mixed with imported gas procured at the rate of US $16 and supplied to homes and gas stations. This is grave injustice to Gujarat by the state government."
"How can anyone say the central government is partial to Gujarat? The biggest petrochemical complexes and refineries were set here during Congress rule. In recent years, oil companies have been investing heavily in Gujarat. Our Gandhar project is investing Rs 3,500 crore. ONGC is in the process of investing more than Rs 8 lakh crore in the last few years and GAIL has invested Rs 1,400 crore in the last five years."
Congress leaders accused that the anonymous ads were given in the media via the state's information department. They accused the government of spending public money to spread lies.