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Uproar till yesterday and now? These 10 non-BJP ruled states did not reduce the price of petrol and diesel, gave these arguments

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After the central government last week cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and 10 respectively, all BJP-ruled states also cut Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel. Odisha and Punjab also decided to reduce VAT on fuel, which later became the only Congress-ruled state to reduce fuel prices.

When asked about the need to cut VAT in other Congress-ruled states, party spokesperson Pawan Khera said that it is being considered. “Look at the BJP… for the last two years they have been saying that the prices of petrol and diesel have nothing to do with the government. But when they lose the by-election, suddenly the government realizes that it can reduce the excise duty on petrol and diesel.”

BJP spokesperson Gopal Krishna Agrawal reiterated the party’s position, saying that BJP-ruled states have asked the Congress to “walk the talk” and reduce VAT in the remaining two Congress-ruled states – Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Here is a list of 10 states that have not yet announced a reduction in VAT on auto fuels:

1. Andhra Pradesh

The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led state government last Sunday denied cutting VAT on petrol and diesel and even published advertisements in newspapers clarifying its stand on the issue. The state government said that despite depositing Rs 3.35 lakh crore as central excise duty, the Center did not adequately compensate it. The price of petrol in the state is Rs 108.20.

2. Chhattisgarh

Even though the Congress-ruled state is yet to announce any decision, reports suggest that it is considering cutting VAT on petrol and diesel after Congress-ruled Punjab.

3. New Delhi

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government is yet to announce a cut in VAT on fuel. Delhi’s opposition – which includes the BJP and the Congress – has both demanded an immediate reduction in taxes. Members of the BJP unit in New Delhi on Saturday protested outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence over the capital’s decision not to announce VAT reduction.

Till Monday, the price of petrol and diesel in Delhi stood at ₹103.97 and ₹86.67, respectively.

4. Jharkhand

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Like other non-BJP ruled states, Jharkhand too is yet to make an announcement regarding reduction in fuel taxes. The opposition BJP and the Petroleum Dealers Association have put pressure on the Hemant Soren government to demand reduction in VAT.

5. Kerala

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led government on Friday clarified that it has no plans to cut VAT. Finance Minister KN Balagopal argued that the Center has marginally reduced fuel taxes. Balagopal termed the Centre’s cut in excise duty as a “temporary and face-saving measure” in a nationwide protest against rising fuel prices.

6. Maharashtra

The Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government also announced that it will not reduce VAT on petrol and diesel. Argued that the reduction in central excise duty would result in a loss of ₹1,700 crore for the period from November 2021 to March 2022. The state, which is saddled with public debt of over Rs 6.15 lakh crore, does not have the cushion to handle the impact from the revenue loss as it was already struggling with mismatch in revenue and expenditure.

7. Rajasthan

The government in the Congress-ruled state is facing pressure from various sections to cut VAT on fuel. Despite the Centre’s cut, Rajasthan is still the state with the most expensive petrol and diesel prices in the country. Petrol price in Jaipur is Rs 111.06 and Diesel price is Rs 95.71. The state itself was asking the Center to cut excise duty, arguing that VAT could be reduced later.

8. Tamil Nadu

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)’s MK Stalin-led government has not announced a cut in VAT on petrol and diesel. All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leaders O Panneerselvam and Edappadi Palaniswami pointed out that the reduction in fuel prices was part of the DMK’s election manifesto and cited examples of several other states that have reduced VAT.

10. Bengal

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) termed the Centre’s decision to cut excise duty as a “mere sham”. TMC general secretary and spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “BJP-ruled state governments get their dues from the Center on account of their taxes, but Bengal remains deprived.”

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