CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala today made it clear that it could not waive the additional sales tax revenue generated on account of increase in excise duty for petroleum products.
State Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac informed the Assembly that though the left government wished to forgo the additional revenue in this regard, it could not do that now due to the financial constrains faced by the state.
However, the Kerala government would take a suitable decision in the future once the state’s revenue goes up with increase in income from GST and E-way bill, he said.
Replying to a notice for adjournment motion over the issue by the Congress-led UDF opposition, Isaac also wanted the BJP government at the Centre to roll back the price hike of petroleum products.
“It is a fact that the frequent hike in prices of petrol and diesel is causing severe hardship to people across the board.
“But, the state is unable to bear the burden (of waiving the additional revenue) in the wake of the present financial position of the state,” the minister said.
Turning the table on the opposition, he reminded them that the entire process of de-regulation of the petroleum price was started during the tenure of the Congress-led UPA government.
Condemning the stand taken by the left government, the UDF opposition wanted it to take a “humanitarian” approach rather than speaking on technicalities on the issue.
Demanding a discussion over the matter, Congress’s Thiruvanchur Radhakrishan urged the LDF government to forgo the additional tax revenue and follow the trails of previous UDF government.
“The previous Oommen Chandy led government had waived the additional tax revenue four times and extended a total benefit of over Rs 600 crore to the people,” he claimed.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala accused the Centre of “not reducing” the oil price when the price of petroleum products comes down in the international market.
Instead of passing on the benefits of lower price in the international oil market, the BJP government was imposing more excise duty and causing hardship to common people, he alleged.
The Congress leader also alleged that both the BJP government at the Centre and the LDF dispensation in the state were equal in terms of “plundering” the people.
Before staging a walkout, Chennithala said it would have given a chance to the House to expose the “anti-people oil policy” of the BJP government if the matter was taken for discussion.>