Kerala

LDF rules out slashing local levy on fuel

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) on Monday seemed disinclined to slash or forsake State government levy on fuel.

LDF convenror A. Vijayaraghavan said the Congress had provided cover to the BJP at the Centre by demanding the State government forsake local fuel tax. Earlier, he had convened an LDF meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Mr. Vijayaraghavan said the Centre had hiked the price of fuel 31 times since May 6. The rising fuel bill had played havoc with household budgets.

Kerala was primarily a consumer State. It was heavily reliant on agricultural States for its food security. A bulk of the grains and perishables consumed in Kerala was freighted from other regions. The hike in diesel price has triggered inflation and price rise.

Lesser levy

He said Kerala taxed fuel lesser compared to other States. The pandemic had cratered Kerala’s economy. Government revenue streams had dried up. Moreover, the Ccentre had systematically deprived States of their taxation powers. Consequently, the Kerala government could only tax fuel and extra neutral alcohol used in liquor production, he said.

The Centre has now moved to usurp the remaining taxation authority left to the State. It has attempted to bring fuel and liquor under the GST regime.

Mr. Vijayaraghavan said the Congress was silent against the Centre’s trespasses. Instead, the party had tiptoed around the BJP’s bid to scuttle fiscal federalism by dismantling States’ financial powers and rights.

Now, by demanding that the State government slash or forsake levy on fuel, the Congress had provided a fig leaf to the BJP to hide its guilt in the matter, he said.

Protest

On June 30, LDF workers will organise protests in physically distanced groups of four against the Centre’s fuel price hike at 25,000 local body wards in the State. The sit-in would commence at 4 p.m.

Mr. Vijayaraghavan said the LDF had resolved to expedite the implementation of its election promises. It would also make the bureaucracy more responsive to the needs of the people. The emphasis was on avoidance of red tape and prompt service delivery.


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Printable version | Aug 6, 2021 3:57:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ldf-rules-out-slashing-local-levy-on-fuel/article34890224.ece

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