New Delhi: Civil aviation minister Praful Patel has expressed his helplessness in bringing down sales tax on aviation fuel as demanded by the private aviation sector, saying this was an issue that was under the purview of state governments.
"This issue comes under the purview of the state governments and there is not much the central government can do about it," Patel said in an interview to a private news channel. "If it were in the hands of the government, we would have already done it."
Indian carriers have stressed repeatedly that sales tax on aviation fuel is too high and adds unnecessary costs to airline operations.
Patel was also unable to say when the sales tax issue could possibly be resolved. "This is not in my hands. I called finance ministers of all the states to Delhi for a meeting and requested them. This is not in the hands of the government of India."
As for issuing financial aid to the beleaguered airline industry, Patel said, "No, we will not give a bailout package. Everyone comes out of the problem in its own way."
He wanted to know where money for any such financial aid was supposed to emerge from?