Bhubaneswar: The state government Sunday hinted that it is not mulling to reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel with a view to cut down the overall fuel prices in the state. Earlier, the Centre had attacked the state government on the issue.
While some states like West Bengal and Rajasthan have already reduced the VAT on fuel to provide the consumers some relief, state Finance Minister Shashi Bhushan Behera Sunday alleged that the Centre is showing a callous approach in dealing with the soaring fuel prices. He said it is surprising that the Centre is expecting the states to bring down fuel prices by cutting VAT.
“Entrusting the responsibility with the state to reduce fuel price shows the callousness of the Centre. People are suffering due to the Centre’s hide and seek game,” the Behera told the media Sunday, hinting at the state government is not willing to reduce the VAT on fuel.
This is the second time in the last one month when the state has defended the state tax on fuel. Recently, after presenting the Supplementary Budget in the state Assembly, the Minister, accompanied by the state Chief Finance Secretary, had defended the VAT on fuels saying that petrol and diesel prices in the state were one of the lowest in the country. “The VAT on fuel in Odisha is among the lowest in the country,” he had said.
The duo had also highlighted the higher petrol prices in West Bengal, Mumbai, Chennai and other BJP-ruled states during the meet post Assembly session.
Earlier in the day, BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb tried to corner the Centre over soaring fuel prices and asked what the latter did after collecting more taxes from the public during the last four years. The BJP-led NDA government at the Centre had hiked the excise duty on petrol and diesels, he said.
Meanwhile, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan stirred a debate on fuel price Sunday morning when he suggested that the state government should reduce the VAT on petrol and diesel prices, taking a cue from other states on the issue.
Pradhan said, “Revenue collection from petrol and diesel in Odisha has increased in the last four years. As the fuel prices at international market have increased, the state should cut down their VAT on fuel to bring down the price and provide relief to the consumers in the state.”
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