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TSRTC paying increasingly high VAT on diesel: RTI- Mrit News

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For several years, it has been a demand of trade unions of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) to bring diesel under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax on grounds that it could pull the transport juggernaut out of losses given the high percentage of Value Added Tax (VAT). A Right to Information (RTI) request showed that the TSRTC has been paying to the government approximately ₹ 300 crore annually as VAT.

According to M Nageshwara Rao, a senior union leader and former board director of the RTC in united Andhra Pradesh, the corporation has been paying VAT on diesel which amounts to over ₹ 300 crore. He pointed out that the TSRTC procures between 5.5 lakh and 6 lakh litres a day, which is a large quantity.

Information received after Mr Rao filed an RTI request showed that in FY 2015-16 the VAT that the TSRTC paid to the government stood at ₹ 224.91 crore. This figure rose to ₹ 255.12 crore the next year, and to ₹ 275.65 crore in the subsequent year. In 2018-19, the VAT paid was ₹ 292.43 crore. Mr Rao said that he is yet to receive information for FYs 2019-20 to 2021-2022, but given that the bus services are back to normal, the VAT payments are much higher.

After the pandemic hit and the lockdown came into force, TSRTC buses went off the roads. This led to a negligible procurement of fuel. While buses were off limits to the general public, they were being used to transport migrant workers to railway stations so that they could board Shramik specials, and for frontline workers. Given this limited movement, the VAT payments too were very small.

“With VAT at 27%, the TSRTC is paying over ₹ 300 crore. Everyday, 6 lakh litres of diesel are bought. If diesel is brought within GST, it will be beneficial to the public and the RTC. The VAT on aviation turbine fuel is so low. We are not against this. We are saying that the same facility should be accorded to the TSRTC as well,” Mr Rao said, even as he pointed out that approximately 58% of expenditure is for workers and staff.

On May 22, touching upon the high prices of fuel, Information Technology Minister K T Rama Rao tweeted that crude oil prices in May 2014 and May 2022 are approximately the same, and claimed that VAT has remained unchanged. “Special Additional Excise duty, Road & Infrastructure Cess & Agriculture & Infrastructure Development Cess all unilaterally imposed by Union government are responsible for hike. Revenues are NOT shared with States,” he tweeted, adding if these cesses are scrapped, prices would return to those of 2014.


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