State

Pradhan Bats For Lower Tax, BJD & Cong Take Protest Route

Bhubaneswar: Instead of blaming the Centre, the Odisha government should cut its 26% value added tax (VAT) on fuel to bring the rising petrol and diesel prices under control, said Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan here today.
Addressing media persons at a presser, Pradhan said, 'Both the Centre and the State have roles in controlling fuel price. In October last year, the Centre cut excise duty by Rs 2. Now it is turn of the State government to cut the VAT it is collecting on fuel. If Odisha cuts its VAT like Goa, the price will come down. While Odisha is collecting 26% VAT on fuel, Goa is taking only 12%.' 
Elaborating the reasons why fuel prices have increased Pradhan blamed the uncertain political conditions in oil exploring countries and the international market for the oil price rise. 'Dollar and rupee imbalance also plays a role in the hike. The Centre is already holding discussions on the matter and the issue will be sorted out soon,' he said.
Meanwhile, slamming the Union Minister, Finance Minister Sashi Bhushan Behera said, 'In Odisha, only 26% VAT on fuel is being collected which is among lowest in the country. The Centre's excise tax is much more than the State's tax. The Union Minister is passing such statements only to shrug off his responsibility.'
Notably, the Sales Tax/VAT on petrol is 24.56% in Odisha while it is  39.78% in Mumbai, 36.14% in Madhya Pradesh, 30.86% in Rajasthan, 16.62% in Goa, and 35.35% in Punjab.
On the other hand, the ruling BJD has decided to hold a three-day protest in view of rising fuel prices in all 314 blocks of the State starting from May 28. On the other hand, Congress activists today staged demonstration at different filling stations in Cuttack protesting the fuel price hike. Party activists led by Cuttack Nagar Congress president Mohammed Moquim held picketing at the pumps demanding immediate cut in fuel prices.
The Congress has also come out with a list of 12 questions for  Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of his visit to Cuttack city on  May 26.
Notably, the petrol and diesel prices have been rising in the country for the last ten days. While petrol rates have increased by Rs 2.54 per litre, diesel prices have been hiked by Rs 2.41 per litre. 

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