Bhubaneswar:The Odisha finance minister, Sashi Bhusan Behera, Wednesday said that the state government would take a decision over inclusion of petrol and diesel under purview of Goods and Services Tax (GST) when such a proposal is brought by the GST council.

Behera, while replying to a debate in the Assembly on an adjournment motion, said this when the opposition Congress and BJP members suggested that the government should bring petrol and diesel under GST in order to check the rising fuel prices.

“The state government will take a decision whether the petrol and diesel be included under the purview of the GST only after such a proposal is brought in the GST Council headed by Union Finance Minister,” Behera told the House.

The finance minister said that the Empowered Committee comprising finance ministers of different states had decided to keep six items including petrol, diesel and liquor out of the GST purview.

On the other hand, Behera suggested the Central government to reduce the rate of central excise and additional taxes on petrol and diesel in order to give relief to the people across the country.

He pointed out that the central government has been collecting Rs 48.33 per litre of petrol which is Rs 10 more than in comparison to the 2014 petrol price.

The finance minister also claimed that Odisha collects only 26 per cent of VAT while the rate of VAT on petrol and diesel in other states are much higher.

Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress, however, blamed both the BJP led Central government and BJD government in Odisha for the miseries of people due to unprecedented hike in the price of petol and diesel. “Both the govenrment should find a way out to give relief to the people,” Mishra said

Congress leader also ridiculed Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who has given a call to states to include petrol and diesel under the purview of the GST knowing that the state do not have the power to amend constitution to bring petrol and diesel under GST.

He also criticised the central government’s slogan of “One Nation, One Tax”.

BJP’s Pradip Puruhit said the central govenrment has already reduced Rs 2 per litre as central excise per litre of petrol. “Why the state government not seeking to include petrol and disel under GST,” he said.

BJP state president and MLA Basant Panda alleged that the state government has been escaping its responsibility and doing nothing to reduce the price of petrol and diesel.