In a move to bring down the operating costs of airlines, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Friday urged all states to reduce taxes on aviation turbine fuel.
State taxes of as much as 30 percent make jet fuel more than 50 percent expensive in India compared with the global average, and global airlines have often criticized such high taxation.
Speaking to reporters in Kolkata, Singh said that central Chhattisgarh was the only state that had responded in a positive manner to bring down the taxes to four percent.
"We have written to them several times, we have discussed with them several times. But, they are all worried about the fiscal problems. As I told you, Chhattisgarh did it earlier, Chavan of Maharashtra also publicly said he is considering it, but I don't think anybody else is concerned about the flyer's fate," he said.
ATF (aviation turbine fuel) taxes in Delhi stand at 20 per cent, Maharashtra at 25 per cent and in West Bengal at 29 per cent.
Singh added that international airlines have renewed their interest in the Indian market after a lull and said that the increase in number of flights is a commercial decision taken by the airlines.
"What I read in the paper today was lot of foreign airlines have increased flight share. A newspaper said that Singapore Airlines have increased flights; all other airlines are increasing flights. These are commercial decisions airlines take, we don't tell which airline to fly from there or here, but it's a commercial decision. They are allowed to fly to Kolkata or out of Kolkata, but they have to decide, if they can sustain it or not," he said.
Commenting on the re-induction of former Deputy Chief of India's western Maharashtra state, Ajit Pawar, Singh said that it was solely the decision of the state to take a stand in this regard.
According to the White Paper, Pawar, a prominent leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, was not involved in the irrigation scam.
"See, that's for the Maharashtra people to decide, NCP and Congress are sharing the government there and he had resigned on certain issues. I believe the government brought out a white paper giving him clearance on all those issues. So, that's for them to decide what he will do, when he will join the government or not join the government," he said.
Pawar took oath after the provincial Government gave him a clean chit in connection with the irrigation scam.
The decks for re-induction of Ajit, nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, were cleared following the presentation of the White Paper. (ANI)