Amid pressure to reduce VAT after reduction in excise duty by the Centre on petrol and diesel, the Congress government in Rajasthan on Tuesday night announced to slash VAT to make petrol and diesel cheaper by Rs 4 per litre and Rs 5 per litre. respectively, from midnight.
This will result in an annual revenue loss of Rs 3,500 crore to the state.
"In the cabinet meeting today, it was unanimously decided to reduce the rate of VAT on petrol/diesel. After this, the rates will be reduced by Rs 4 per litre in petrol and Rs 5 per litre in diesel from 12 o'clock tonight,” Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted.
A day before Diwali, the government of India had slashed excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and Rs 10 per litre. Interestingly, following the excise duty cut, BJP-ruled states, Punjab and Odisha had reduced VAT on fuel to further reduce the prices. Some Congress-ruled states, however, had not cut VAT and had demanded further reduction in central excise duty.
After the cabinet meeting, transport minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said that the decision was taken to give relief to the public.
He targeted the Modi government over the expensive petrol and diesel and alleged that the government was working to weaken states.
Khachariyawas said that there should be a one nation one rate policy for petrol and diesel and the transportation cost should be borne by the Centre.
He said that before the Modi government came to power in 2014, the crude oil price in the international market was $111 per barrel and the rate of petrol in the country was Rs 61 per litre but when the crude oil price in the international market is $82 per barrel, the fuel in the country is expensive because the Modi government has increased excise duty by Rs 40-45 per litre in six years.
“The Centre increased excise duty by Rs 40-45 per litre in six years and reduced by Rs 10-15 to please people. There should be a one nation one price policy for petrol and diesel in the country and the central government should bear the cost of transporting the fuel,” he told reporters.
The minister said that the central government has reduced the share of the divisible pool to be shared with the states due to which the share of the states has come down.
At the same time, he said, the special and additional excise duty has been increased continuously.
He said that people should analyse the policies of the former UPA government led by Manmohan Singh and the present Modi government.
"People are suffering badly due to high inflation and price rise. Apart from petrol and diesel, the rate of LPG cylinders has also increased and the Centre should restart subsidy on cylinders,” he said.
The cabinet also cleared a proposal to allot free land for greenfield airport in Kota.
Apart from it, the cabinet approved amendments in land allotment policy-2015 under which free land can now be allotted for various welfare activities for women, differently-abled, children, elderly people, beggars, transgenders etc.
(With PTI Inputs)