BJP, Congress demand Delhi govt reduce VAT on petrol and diesel

The Congress, however, said the Centre’s excise duty cuts on fuel prices are too meagre.

The BJP and Congress Friday demanded that the AAP-led Delhi government immediately reduce VAT on petrol and diesel to give relief to people and said they would launch protests otherwise. The Congress, however, said the Centre’s excise duty cuts on fuel prices are too meagre.

No immediate reaction was available from Delhi government on the issue.

Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said the Arvind Kejriwal government should immediately reduce VAT on petrol and diesel by Rs 10 each so that the people of Delhi can get relief from inflation. He said if the demands are not met by Sunday, then all BJP MLAs will protest outside the CM’s residence on Monday.

The Finance Ministry Wednesday announced a Rs 5 per litre cut in the excise duty on petrol and a Rs 10 per litre cut in the excise duty on diesel. Amid record-high fuel prices, this is the first cut in central excise duties in over three years. The reduction in duties brings the total excise duty on petrol down to Rs 27.9 per litre from Rs 32.9 litre and that on diesel to Rs 21.8 litre from Rs 31.8 per litre.

Several states have reduced the Value Added Tax on petrol and diesel on Wednesday including Assam, Bihar and Haryana.

Bidhuri claimed that the highest VAT levied on petrol and diesel was in Delhi. “When the Kejriwal government came to power in 2015, it used to levy only 20 per cent VAT on petrol and 12 per cent on diesel. Kejriwal government increased VAT on petrol and diesel to 30 per cent,” he said.

Delhi Congress head Anil Kumar said the BJP government’s decision to decrease excise duty of Rs 5 on a litre of petrol and Rs 10 on diesel was too meagre, as it had already inflicted unbearable financial burden on the people, who are still battling to come out of the devastation caused by the pandemic and inflation. “Many states have slashed VAT, but the AAP government, which used to call itself the custodian of the common people, had not lowered the taxes,” he said.

“Prime Minister Modi was compelled to make a nominal roll back in excise duty on the eve of Diwali, which was no consolation for the people, as the hike in the excise duty and the VAT on petroleum products has had a chain reaction on the prices of all essential goods, including vegetables, fruits and cooking oil, due to higher transportation costs,” he added.

Kumar said the party would stage protests if demands are not met.

Petrol now costs Rs 103.97 per litre in Delhi against Rs 110.04 per litre, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

Petrol price on Thursday was cut by Rs 6.07 per litre and diesel price by Rs 11.75 in Delhi as oil companies passed on a record reduction in excise duty rates to consumers.

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