- Puri claimed BJP-ruled states levy less VAT on fuel than Oppn-ruled states
- He said that Oppn's intent is only to protest and not extend relief to the people
- Centre and Oppn-ruled states are at loggerheads after PM urged them to slash taxes on fuel
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has come down heavily on the Opposition-ruled states for indulging in politics and not slashing VAT on petrol and diesel to provide relief to the public despite a call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Puri, who is Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, said that petrol will be cheaper if opposition ruled states cut taxes on fuel instead of imported liquor. He was referring to the Maharashtra government's decision to slash the excise duty by 50% on imported liquor from 300% to 150% in November last year.
Sharing the data, he said that the BJP-ruled states levy less VAT on petrol and diesel than the opposition ruled states. He said that VAT on petrol and diesel in the BJP-ruled states are in the range of Rs 14.50 to Rs 17.50 per litre while taxes levied by states ruled by other parties are in the range of Rs 26 to Rs 32 per litre.
"The difference is clear. Their intent is only to protest and criticise, not extend relief to the people," he said.
Attacking the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra, he said that the alliance government of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress collects Rs 32.15 taxes per litre on petrol. In Rajasthan, another Congress-ruled state, the government collects Rs 29.10 taxes per litre on petrol.
'VAT on fuel lowest in Haryana'
The BJP-ruled Uttarakhand, he said, levies only Rs 14.51 & Uttar Pradesh Rs 16.50. In Haryana, 18 per cent VAT is collected on petrol and 16 on diesel which is among the lowest.
"An aspiring leader from the state protests against these, but is silent on Rajasthan ruled by his own party," he said while referring to Congress leader Deepender Hooda's charge that Haryana has the highest VAT on petrol and diesel.
"Protests cannot challenge facts!" he tweeted.
"The truth hurts, but facts speak for themselves. Maharashtra government has collected Rs 79,412 crore as fuel taxes since 2018 and is expected to collect 33,000 cr this year. (Adding up to a whopping Rs 1,12,757 cr). Why did it not reduce VAT on petrol & diesel to provide relief to people?" he asked.
PM Modi's request to states
Earlier on Wednesday, PM Narendra Modi raised the issue of high fuel prices in Opposition-ruled states during a Covid review meeting with the Chief Ministers. He said that the Centre last November slashed the VAT on fuel but some states didn't 'for some reason. He requested Maharashtra, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Jharkhand to cut taxes to provide relief to people.
Several states responded to Modi's request with Telangana CM K Chandrasekhara Rao alleging that the Prime Minister "should feel ashamed" to ask states to cut taxes. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said that the PM delivered a completely one-sided and misleading speech, adding that "facts shared by him were wrong". Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray too said that "it is not a fact that petrol and diesel have become more expensive due to the state".