West Bengal slashes petrol, diesel prices, cuts VAT by 1 rupee per litre
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo alleged that the BJP-led central government hiked excise duty nine times, even when the global crude prices were falling.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday reduced the value added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel by Re 1 per litre, joining Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, the two poll-bound states that have already announced a cut in petro prices.
The announcement comes a day after the Congress called a countrywide shutdown to protest against the rising fuel prices.
Banerjee said she has asked the Centre to withdraw the cess on petroleum products.
“We are doing it for the sake of the people despite our huge financial burden. The common people are facing hardships. For now, we have decided to slash (the VAT) by Rs 1 per litre of petrol and diesel. We also demand that the central government consider cutting down the cess on diesel and petrol,” the chief minister said.
According to a senior official in the state finance department, the reduced prices would be applicable from Tuesday midnight.
On Monday, petrol was priced at Rs 83.16 in Bengal, of which state VAT was Rs 11.99. The Re 1 reduction would be 8.34% of the VAT. For diesel (Rs 75.80 a litre), the VAT was Rs 8.51. In this case, the reduction would be 11.75%.
“Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are heading for elections. I don’t have any polls here. Yet I am taking this step,” she said.
Bengal is repaying nearly Rs 48,000-crore in loans to the Centre every year, she added. The burden is likely to reach Rs 3.94 lakh crore by this year. The repayment obligation will stand at Rs 47,719 crore, which consumes more than 86% of its projected own tax revenue of Rs 55,200 crore.
First Published: Sep 11, 2018 16:10:25