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Centre immediately withdraw the cess on petrol and diesel : CM KCR

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Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao demanded that the Centre immediately withdraw the cess on petrol and diesel, and reduce the financial burden on the general public. Escalating fuel prices had resulted in a drastic increase in prices of essential commodities, including pulses and edible oils. This was burning the pockets of middle-class people, he said here on Sunday.

He called the Centre’s decision to slash the cess by Rs 5 on petrol and Rs 10 on diesel and eyewash. “If the Centre is seriously concerned about general public welfare, all cess should be immediately withdrawn. Petrol prices will automatically come down to Rs 78 per litre,” Chandrashekhar Rao said.

In 2014, when BJP came to power, the crude oil price was $105 per barrel, which came down to $83 today. Citing crude oil prices in the international market, the Centre had blatantly lied and increased fuel prices drastically and deceived the people, he said.

Exposing the double standards of the Central government in levying cess on fuel, the Chief Minister said, “State governments get a share in excise duty as part of tax devolution due to the Finance Commission’s recommendations. But they do not get any share in cess and surcharges collected by the Centre.”

He categorically dismissed the possibilities of reducing Value Added Tax (VAT) imposed by the State government. “Save for levying VAT on petrol and diesel, Telangana does not levy any other tax. Since last six years, Telangana government has not revised VAT on petrol and diesel,” he said, adding the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh government collects road tax of Rs 1.

“On the contrary, the Centre levies excise duty, Road and Infrastructure Cess and Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess on both petrol and diesel,” he said.

Further, the Centre introduced Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess of Rs 2.5 per litre on petrol and Rs 4 on diesel from February 2021 with a corresponding decrease in excise duty. This resulted in a loss of revenue to all the States, including Telangana, on account of a reduced proportion of excise duty and increased proportion of cess.

“The Central government should roll back the prices by eliminating cess,” Chandrashekhar Rao demanded.

Taking a serious view of the Centre’s tactics, people taught a fitting lesson to BJP in the recent by-polls held in many constituencies. It reduced the cess marginally only with an eye on the Assembly elections to be held in four States and to appease the people, he pointed out.

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