States not passing on fuel duty cut to people: PM Modi

PM Modi flays non-BJP State governments for not reducing VAT.

April 27, 2022 05:09 pm | Updated April 28, 2022 07:22 am IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 27, 2022 addresses a virtual meeting with Chief Ministers regarding the COVID-19 situation. Photo: YouTube/Narendra Modi via PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 27, 2022 addresses a virtual meeting with Chief Ministers regarding the COVID-19 situation. Photo: YouTube/Narendra Modi via PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that fuel prices were too high in some Opposition-ruled States, where the benefits of Centre’s excise duty cut were not passed on to the people.

“These States should bring in immediate remedial measures to stop this injustice,” Mr. Modi said during an interaction with Chief Ministers to discuss the emerging COVID-19 situation.

“This harms the neighbouring States also. States like Karnataka and Gujarat undertook the tax reduction for the welfare of the people despite revenue loss while their neighbouring States earned revenue by not reducing tax,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that last November a request was made to reduce VAT, but many States, most of which are non-BJP-ruled ones like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Jharkhand, did not do so for some reason.

He appealed to States to ensure Centre-State cooperation stating that this is the need of the hour because of the war situation when the global community is under stress and is facing challenges caused by disruption in the supply chain and rising cases of COVID–19.

The Prime Minister said that along with the pandemic-related challenges, the global community and the common man are facing the fallout of a war. “The situation of war which has arisen has affected the supply chain,” Mr. Modi said in an apparent reference to the Russia–Ukraine conflict.

“In the current global scenario, for the strength of India’s economy, coordination between the Centre and States in economic decisions is necessary. In the conditions imposed by global events, this spirit of cooperative federalism becomes important,” he said in the context of fuel prices.

The Prime Minister said that in an effort to reduce the fuel prices, the Central government has reduced the excise duty and had requested the States also to do so. Some States reduced taxes but some did not pass on the benefits to the people, leading to higher fuel prices there.

The Prime Minister said 42% of the revenue at the Centre goes to the State governments. “I urge all the States to work as a team in this time of global crisis following the spirit of cooperative federalism.”

On the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in some States and about the need to follow test, track, treat, vaccination and ensure appropriate behaviour, the PM said the pandemic challenge is not fully over.

He said that it is a matter of pride that 96% adult population is vaccinated with at least one dose and about 84% people above 15 years of age have received both the doses.

The Prime Minister emphasised on the need to test serious influenza cases and genome sequencing of the positive cases, Covid appropriate behaviour and avoid panic. He also emphasised on continued upgradation of health infrastructure and medical manpower.

The Prime Minister pointed out that with increasing temperature, fire incidents in forests and buildings are increasing. He specially asked for the fire safety audits of the hospitals. He said our arrangements for meeting this challenge should be comprehensive and response time should be the minimum.

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