Union MoS for Home Affairs Nisith Pramanik lashed out at the TMC government in West Bengal on Sunday, over its refusal to slash the excise duty on fuel prices following the Centre's VAT reduction. Pramanik noted there were protests in Bengal over fuel price reduction, but Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is 'silent' today after the prices have been reduced.
"In the neighbouring states like Assam, Tripura, the governments have reduced taxes on petrol and diesel. Even West Bengal should do the same so that people don't have to go to Assam for fuel," the Minister said.
In a major relief to the citizens, the Modi government slashed the central excise duty on fuel prices on the eve of Diwali. The Centre announced a reduction of Rs 5 and Rs 10 on petrol and diesel respectively. As per government sources, the reduction in excise duty on diesel being double that of petrol is meant to be a boost to the farmers during the upcoming Rabi season. Days later, 22 states/UTs followed the Centre and reduced the VAT on Petrol and Diesel at their own rates.
However, the TMC-led West Bengal was among the 11 States/UTs which chose against any reduction in VAT over fuel. Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Andaman and Nicobar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, and Rajasthan are the others.
TMC general secretary Kunal Ghosh has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of indulging in “cheap politics” regarding fuel prices. He said that the Centre should reduce base prices and restructure taxation to bring the prices further down. Ghosh alleged that the Centre was mismanaging the tax-share of states to profit BJP-led states.
BJP has slammed the Opposition for politicising the issue and not providing relief to consumers. Incidentally, of the 22 states where VAT has been reduced - six are up for polls next year - Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Manipur, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Goa.