Saturday, May 21, 2022

Puri attacks Opp-ruled states over failure to cut fuel taxes on petrol, diesel, ATF

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  • The minister accused states of choosing to mop up revenues from fuel taxes instead of extending relief to the common man
  • ‘Petrol will be cheaper if opposition ruled states cut taxes on fuel instead of imported liquor,’ said Puri

New Delhi: Singling out states ruled by the Opposition, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri launched a fresh tirade on Thursday slamming these states over their failure to cut Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol, diesel and Aviation Turbine Fuel, holding them responsible for high price of air tickets and fuel. The minister accused states of choosing to mop up revenues from fuel taxes instead of extending relief to the common man.

“Truth hurts, but facts speak for themselves. 18% VAT on petrol & 16% on diesel in Haryana among lowest. An aspiring leader from the state protests against these, but is silent on Rajasthan ruled by his own party which imposes 31.08% +₹1500 /KL cess- among the highest in country!,” said Puri in a series of tweets. 

“BJP ruled States have a VAT on petrol & diesel in the range of Rs 14.50 to Rs 17.50 /ltr, while taxes levied by states ruled by other parties are in the range of Rs 26 to Rs 32 /ltr. The difference is clear. Their intent is only to protest and criticise, not extend relief to the people,” said Puri.

“Petrol will be cheaper if opposition ruled states cut taxes on fuel instead of imported liquor! Maharashtra govt imposes Rs 32.15/ltr on petrol & Congress ruled Rajasthan Rs 29.10 But BJP ruled Uttarakhand levies only Rs 14.51 & Uttar Pradesh Rs 16.50. Protests cannot challenge facts!,” he wrote on Twitter.

Fuel taxes: WB, Delhi, Maharashtra impose big tax on ATF, says Puri

Referring to high air ticket prices, Puri said, “Ever wondered why air ticket prices haven’t come down? Aviation Turbine Fuel constitutes about 40% of the cost of airline operations. But West Bengal, Maharashtra & Delhi impose massive 25%+ VAT on ATF while BJP states UP & Nagaland; & UT of J&K charge just 1%.”

Accusing the Opposition-ruled states of hypocrisy, Puri said, “PM Modi Ji ensures affordable air travel to common citizens with his vision of ‘हवाई चप्पल से हवाई जहाज़ तक’but these states create impediments. They manufacture protests against ‘oil prices’ but fleece the people to fill their coffers.”

Background

Before the Central government announced a cut in excise duty on petrol and diesel in November 2021, Puri had defended high tax levies on petrol and diesel by the Centre in the Parliament, saying that the revenue generated is being used by the government to provide free COVID-19 vaccines and for various developmental schemes. While responding to a question in the Lok Sabha on July 27, 2021, Puri had refused to acknowledge the inflationary pressure created by the high fuel prices on the economy by saying that the weightage of petrol, diesel and LPG in the WPI index is 1.60 percent, 3.10 percent and 0.64 percent, indicating that petroleum products may not be responsible for rising prices in other categories.

The government’s tax mop-up from petrol and diesel had went up by 88 percent in FY21 year-on-year as it raked up Rs 3,34,894 crore as opposed to Rs 1,78,311 crore in FY20. The rise in tax collection had followed a record hike in central excise duty on petrol in 2020 from Rs 19.98 per litre to Rs 32.90 per litre and on diesel from Rs 15.83 per litre to Rs 31.8 per litre. As fuel prices had surged to record levels, the Central government had announced a cut in central excise duty on November 3, 2021. While excise duty on petrol was slashed by Rs 5/litre, excise duty for diesel was reduced by Rs 10/litre.

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