Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

GST will light up homes of poor: Piyush Goyal

GST will light up homes of poor: Piyush Goyal

The 5 per cent GST rate on coal will make electricity more affordable for poor people and farmers, who are already gaining from the fivefold increase in the pace of rural electrification compared to the year before the Narendra Modi government was sworn in, Piyush Goyal, the minister for power, coal, renewable energy and mines, said.

The GST Council on Thursday fixed 5% cent tax against the current tax incidence of 11.69%.

"I am happy that the GST Council chose to keep coal in the 5 per cent tax slab".

About lower rates on coal under GST, he said, "The coal sector will also benefit (due to GST) with straight away benefits to consumers because (higher) taxes used to be a burden on consumer of India. NTPC has been able to bring down their variable cost by 20 per cent".

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"Nearly, 22 lakh households in rural areas are yet to get electricity supply, and the work will be completed in the next 18 months", Goyal said.

"Tariffs for projects vary from project to project. The rise will be compensated by the decline in corruption and operational difficulties", he said. Earlier it decided on the fitment of 1,211 goods items and has deferred a decision on the remaining six categories for its next meeting slated here for June 3.

"When the BJP came to power in Rajasthan in 2013, the Discoms were suffering Rs 15,000 crore losses yearly", Goyal said. Overall, we have grown at 6.5 percent in the last three years. "If the factor is 3 percent of gains, then demand would have been 9.5 percent", he said. "All the states have pledged to boost holistic development ofthe village electrification process to provide 24x7 affordable and quality power to all which is planned under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)", Goyal said.

Even though official figures say that only 3,992 villages remain un-electrified in the country, the number of rural households without access to power is more than 4.5 crore. The minister also said that government undertaking companies like Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Finance Corporation would consider providing LED televisions to these households as part of the companies' CSR activities.

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