New Delhi: Contending that India has an opportunity to touch 9 percent growth, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday made a fresh bid to end the deadlock on GST bill as he reached out to Congress, asking it to think about the “legacy” it would be leaving behind by opposing it. Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley praised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for openly supporting GST and appealed to those opposing it that a message should not go to the world that Parliament in India is being an “obstruction”. He said India is being seen as a “bright spot” when other major economies have slowed down and this opportunity to realise the full growth potential should be seized. ALSO READ: Certain factors preventing India from reaching 8% growth: Arun Jaitley “It not difficult for India to grow at 8-9 percent. It is not impossible,” Jaitley said in the Lok Sabha while replying to a debate on the second batch of Supplementary Demand for Grants of Rs 56,256 crore which was later approved. He said the best solution to poverty eradication is enabling the country to grow faster which will generate jobs and increase resources of the government. “Those who try to create impediments want to poverty to perpetuate…. By short-sighted vision, we end up hurting the poor in this country,” the Finance Minister said. He said GST (Goods and Services Tax) bill, which aims at reforming the direct taxation system in the country, can push the country’s growth by one and one-and-a-half percent. Reaching out to main opposition party which is opposing the bill that is pending in Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said, “I would urge the current leadership of Congress party also to look at the history and legacy they want to leave behind. Support these measures so that we are able to grow faster. We have more money to get rid of poverty much faster.” He noted that GST was first brought by the previous Congress-led government and was “unquestionably” the “collective wisdom of everybody… But today they oppose.” Jaitley, who spoke in the absence of Congress which was boycotting the House over alleged ‘vendetta politics’, said he was conveying the message to the main opposition party through the Chair. He hoped that the growth in the current year would be 7-7.5 percent and the fiscal deficit would be restricted to 3.9 percent of the GDP with quality “much superior” than previous government. PTI

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New Delhi: Petrol price was Tuesday cut by 50 paisa and diesel by 46 paisa a litre, much lower than an anticipated decrease as oil companies left cushion for the government to mop up gains accruing from global oil prices dipping to multi-year lows.
Petrol will cost Rs 59.98 from midnight tonight in Delhi as against Rs 60.48 per litre currently.

Similarly, a litre of diesel will cost Rs 46.09 as compared to Rs 46.55 now, said Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation’s biggest fuel retailer said.

The rate of basket of crude oil that India buys hit a 11-year low of USD 34.39 per barrel yesterday, but the average for the fortnight which is taken into account for calculating new prices, was USD 4-5 more.

Acting as a counter-balance was the rupee that fell to Rs 66.99 to a US dollar yesterday as against average of Rs 66.21 of second half of November for the previous cut.

Industry officials said the net impact of the two should have warranted a reduction of at least Rs 2 per litre but the oil companies have kept some cushion on cues that government may like to raise excise duty on the two fuels to mop up its revenues as it has done five times in last one year.

Excise duty was last raised on November 7; on petrol, by Rs 1.60 per litre and on diesel by 40 paise.

That increase in excise duty is to yield an additional revenue of about Rs 3,200 crore to the government during the rest of the current fiscal.

In the previous four hikes between November 2014 and January 2015, totalling Rs 7.75 per litre on petrol and Rs 6.50 a litre on diesel, it had mopped up about Rs 20,000 crore in additional revenue to meet fiscal deficit targets.

The government had collected Rs 99,184 crore in excise collections from the petroleum sector in 2014-15. This was Rs 33,042 crore in the first quarter of the current fiscal.

Today’s cut in prices is the second this month. Oil firms had last cut petrol price by 58 paise per litre and diesel by 25 paise on December 1.

“The current level of international product prices of petrol and diesel and Rupee-USD exchange rate warrant a decrease in prices, the impact of which is being passed on to the consumers with this price revision,” IOC said in a statement.

State-owned fuel retailers — IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) — revise petrol and diesel prices on 1st and 16th of every month based on average imported cost and rupee-dollar exchange rate in the previous fortnight.

“The movement of prices in the international oil market and INR-USD exchange rate shall continue to be monitored closely and developing trends of the market will be reflected in future price changes,” IOC said.

Reacting to the decision, Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala tweeted: “BJP plays cruel joke by slashing Petrol/Diesel by 50 paisa/48 paisa while crude oil has come down from $108 to $36 from May 2014 to Dec 2015”.

PTI

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