Mumbai: Congress party today slammed the BJP-led Maharashtra government’s decision to levy temporary additional taxes to generate a revenue of Rs 1,600 crore, saying the money would be spent to celebrate its first anniversary of coming to power.
The Devendra Fadnavis government will complete a year in the office on October 31. Leader of Opposition in Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil charged that the government planned to advertise its “so called” performance, and slapped the additional taxes to raise funds for it.
“I wonder why the government, which has steadfastly refused to waive crop loans of farmers who are reeling under drought, readily gives tax concessions to rich businesses,” he said, alleging that the state government, however, had reduced fund allocation for social justice schemes. Patil said the government rejected Congress’s demand for farm loan waiver, but revoked the Local Body Tax on petrol and diesel.
“The government will have to bear a burden of Rs 350 crore, but the common man will not benefit by this decision. It plans to use the funds from additional taxes to celebrate its first year in the office,” he said. Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar rebutted the charge, saying no special provision for celebrating first year in office had been made. “There is no provision other than what is budgeted to propagate the government schemes. Government is a trustee of people’s money,” he said.
To raise funds for tackling drought, the government today announced a surcharge of Rs 2 on petrol and diesel while increasing the VAT on liquor, cigarettes and beverages by 5 per cent. It also imposed a 1.20 per cent surcharge on VAT on gold and diamond jewellery. The additional levy will be in force for five months.