Saturday, Jul 02, 2022

Fuel Prices: As BJP Demands States To Reduce VAT, Opposition Wants More Excise Cut By Centre

As BJP leaders demand AAP government to reduce VAT on petrol and diesel in Punjab, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot says the Centre should bring down the excise duty to the level it was during the Congress-led UPA government.

AAP leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann. Twitter

The opposition parties on Sunday demanded from the AAP government in Punjab to reduce VAT on fuel after the Union government slashed excise duty on petrol and diesel to give relief to consumers.

Sunil Jakhar, who joined the BJP a few days ago after quitting the Congress, demanded from the Bhagwant Mann-led government to reduce VAT on fuel.

“Thank you @BhagwantMann ji for gracefully acknowledging Central Govt's commitment for procuring Moong at #MSP in Punjab. Even the excise duty on #Petrol #Diesel has been reduced substantially, now request you to similarly reduce the VAT in #Punjab,” said Jakhar in a tweet.

Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma too asked the state government to bring down VAT on fuel. Because of frequent load shedding in the state, farmers are buying diesel for running their submersible pumps to irrigate their crops, he said.

“The state government should reduce tax on diesel and petrol and give relief to farmers and people,” he said. Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal also demanded from the government to slash tax on fuel. He tweeted that not doing so would mean the betrayal of people.

The Centre on Saturday had cut excise duty on petrol by Rs 8 per litre and on diesel by Rs 6 per litre to give relief to consumers battered by high fuel prices that have also pushed inflation to a multi-year high.

The excise duty cut would translate into a reduction of Rs 9.5 a litre on petrol and Rs 7 a litre on diesel after taking into account its impact on other levies.

Auto industry body SIAM on Sunday sought reduction in CNG prices while welcoming the government's decision to lower the petrol and diesel prices.
"Auto industry welcomes the Government's move to lower the prices of petrol and diesel. It will help ease the inflationary pressure and eventually help the common man," the industry body said on Twitter tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman among others.

The auto industry also keenly looks forward to similar support on the CNG prices which have seen exponential increase in the last seven months, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) noted.

"Support for CNG prices would help the common man, facilitate public transport and will enable a cleaner environment," the industry body said.
Also reduction in import duties for raw material for steel and plastic products and increase in export duties on steel intermediates would hopefully moderate steel prices in the domestic market, SIAM said.

Sitharaman on Saturday announced a Rs 8 per litre cut in excise duty on petrol and Rs 6 a litre on diesel to avoid an increase in fuel prices that were necessitated due to surge in international oil prices. The government has reduced taxes on petrol and diesel against the backdrop of inflation, the Finance Minister had stated.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday said the Centre should bring down the excise duty on petrol and diesel to the level it was during the Congress-led UPA government so that common people get genuine relief.

His remarks came a day after the government cut the excise duty on petrol by a record Rs 8 per litre and that on diesel by Rs 6 per litre to give relief to consumers grappling with high fuel prices that have also pushed inflation to a record high.

"Instead of doing such a formality (cutting excise duty), the central government should bring the excise duty to the level it was during the UPA government so that the common man can get relief in the real sense," Gehlot said in a tweet.

These excise cuts will become irrelevant in the next few days, he said, adding that rise in fuel prices is the main reason for inflation.

Gehlot said during the UPA government's tenure, crude oil price had reached USD 140 per barrel but fuel price for the general public did not cross Rs 70 as an excise duty of only Rs 10 was levied.

Hitting out at the Centre, the chief minister said these people do not tell that they have increased the excise duty from Rs 10 to Rs 32.

People now know that fuel prices will be reduced when elections are near and they will be increased once elections are over, Gehlot said. After the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the Centre increased fuel prices by Rs 10. They are just deceiving people, he alleged.

Following the government's decision to cut excise duty, petrol price was slashed by Rs 8.69 a litre and that of diesel by Rs 7.05 per litre on Sunday.

(with inputs from PTI)