Thackeray hits back at PM saying state cannot to be blamed for rise in fuel prices
Lashes out against the stepmotherly treatment to Maharashtra despite its major contribution in the country’s development
Maharashtra gets 5.5 per cent of central tax. Its share in total direct tax is 38.3 per cent. Maharashtra collects the highest GST of 15% in the country
Expects that the Centre treats all states in a fairer manner while talking about cooperative federalism
Centre owes Rs 26,500 crore to the state towards GST compensation
Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday lashed out against the Centre and PM Narendra Modi after the latter accused the state government of pushing up petrol and diesel prices. Taking an aggressive posture against the Centre, Thackeray has dropped sufficient hints at no reduction in VAT on petrol and diesel. However, he blamed the Centre for its stepmotherly treatment despite Maharashtra’s major contribution in the country’s development.
Thackeray, after attending the meeting chaired by Modi on COVID-19 review, said the state government has already reduced VAT on natural gas to 3% from 13.5%. "Maharashtra gets 5.5 per cent of central tax. Its share in total direct tax is 38.3 per cent. Maharashtra collects the highest GST of 15% in the country. Combining both direct taxes and GST, Maharashtra is the number one state in the country. Despite this, the Centre has yet to clear Rs 26,500 crore to the state towards GST compensation,’’ he added.
Further, he clarified that the Centre’s share in taxes on diesel sold in Mumbai is Rs 24.38 per litre and state’s is Rs 22.37 per litre while on petrol the Centre’s share in taxes is Rs 31.58 per litre against state’s is Rs 32.55 per litre. ‘’Therefore, it is not a fact that petrol and diesel have become more expensive due to the state,’’ clarified Thackeray. Maharashtra government expects revenue mobilisation of over Rs 1.40 lakh crore towards GST and VAT on petrol, diesel and ethanol in 2022-23.
CM has clearly indicated that the Centre should bear the burden instead of blaming the states and expecting them to foot the bill amid rising petrol and diesel prices.
Amid growing tension between the Centre and the MVA government since it came to power in 2019, Thackeray said that all the states are expected to get equal treatment from the Centre.
CM highlighted that despite repeated pleas for changes in NDRF criteria for aid they are yet to be made. ‘’The state government has continuously urged the Centre to expand its narrow definition of NDRF criteria and help the victims of disasters. The state has contributed more than the Centre’s criteria. During the Tauktae cyclone, the Centre helped Gujarat more than Maharashtra. We didn’t just decide to give a loan waiver to farmers but also implemented it. During COVID times we helped the unorganised and weaker section population. While talking about co-operative federalism it is expected that the Centre treats all states in a fairer manner,’’ he observed.
Further, Thackeray said the state government has waived arrears up to Rs 10,000 crore under various tax laws which has benefitted about 1 lakh small traders. The state government has announced the amnesty scheme titled Maharashtra Settlement of Arrears of Tax, Interest, Penalty or Late Fee Scheme-2022. It will cover various taxes levied by the Sales Tax department before the introduction of the GST Act and its duration will be from 1 April 2022 to 30 September 2022.
Moreover, the state government also came out with an amnesty scheme under Stamp Act for pending penalty dues.
War of Words between BJP and NCP
The leader of opposition in the state assembly Devendra Fadnavis (BJP) criticised the Maha Vikas Aghadi government and CM Uddhav Thackeray for not cutting VAT on petrol and diesel. ‘’Blame game is safe and good for hiding misdeeds but it does not give relief to the common man. When the Government of India reduced excise duty on fuel prices last November, it also requested states to reduce taxes but non-BJP ruled states including Maharashtra are busy only in profiteering,’’ he claimed.
‘’As our Hon PM Narendra Modi appealed all states to reduce taxes on fuel and as Maharashtra already has earned more than Rs 3,400 crore profit, it is my sincere request to CM and Government of Maharashtra to act immediately and give relief to all Maharashtrians including Marathi Manoos,’’ said Fadnavis in a tweet.
However, NCP Minister Jitendra Awhad quipped, ‘’Modi is the father of the country, we Maharashtra, Bengal are his small children, the father should feed his children first. The states which reduced VAT did not make much difference, the price is less there by two or four rupees."
Another NCP Minister Chhagan Bhujbal slammed the Centre for making loud claims about the relief to the consumers due to reduction in central excise duty on petrol and diesel. ‘’The Centre paints a picture of big relief after reducing the cut of Rs 2 following a rise of Rs 25 in petrol and diesel prices,’’ he claimed.