In yet another stand-off between the Central government and Maharashtra’s tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, State Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday strongly disapproved with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s request asking Opposition-ruled States to reduce Value-added tax (VAT) on fuel.
Alleging biased treatment of Centre towards Maharashtra, Mr. Thackeray said, “It is now necessary so that citizens know the truth. Maharashtra gets only 5.5% of the Central taxes in its kitty at a time when it contributes as much as 38.3% through direct taxes. Maharashtra contributes around 15% to the GST share in the entire country. If direct taxes and GST is combined then Maharashtra is a leading State in giving taxes. Despite that even today the State is yet to get ₹26,500 crores worth of its GST dues.”
Adding that Mr. Modi’s hint that costly fuel is a result of State taxes is far from reality, Mr. Thackeray said, “Today in Mumbai behind every litre of diesel the Centre VAT is ₹24.38 while the State VAT is ₹22.37. In petrol, ₹31.58 is the Centre’s tax while the State tax is ₹32.55.”
“The State has already reduced the tax on natural gas from 13.5% to 3%. This has benefited the pipe gas users, public transport users and has encouraged use of natural gas,” he said.
Recounting the Centre’s refusals to adhere to the requests made by the State, Mr. Thackeray said that the State government has continuously urged the Centre to expand its definition for criterion under National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and help the victims of disasters. “The State has contributed more than the criteria. During the Taukte cyclone the centre helped Gujarat more than Maharashtra,” he said, adding that the State government did not only decide to give loan waiver to farmers but also implemented it.
“During COVID times we helped the unorganised and weaker section. While talking about co-operative federalism it is expected that the Centre treats all States in a more fair manner,” he said.