Undoubtedly the Union government led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to be fired a political salvo at all the non-BJP rules states in the country. The sudden decision by the Union government to slash the excise duty (which is the central government component) by Rs 5 and Rs 10 per litre of petrol and diesel respectively seems to be a direct attack on the states. Now the onus of bringing down the price of fuel is on the states and the accusation of not being people friendly will be directly targeted at the state governments and not the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government!
The fuel prices were on the upward movement since last three months on daily basis. This meant that thee price of petrol even touched Rs 120 in many places. Fuel price is directly affecting country inflation and has been the reason for price increase of all the goods from edible oil to electronic goods; the prices have skyrocketed since last three years. Despite all these, the people are accepting it as a way of life and living with the increased price.
Though there is not much retaliation from the public for the fuel price hike, the Union government seems to have sensed trouble with continuous price hike of fuels and with line-up of states going for polls over the next one year, it seems the BJP led NDA government at the centre has decided to cut fuel prices by reducing the centre’s share of excise duty by Rs 5 and Rs 10 for a litre of petrol and diesel respectively.
The Union government had also called upon state governments to consider reducing their share of taxes and help the people. Most of the BJP ruled states and poll-bound states in the country immediately joined the bandwagon and slashed value added tax (VAT). There has been slash of Vat by Rs 10 by few states; this means the fuel prices will come down.
“Tough the government has cut the prices, this is nothing compared to the fact that, it has been increasing almost on daily basis over the last two years. They need to further reduce it and if possible bring it into GST gambit. But politics and economy play a vital role then board room decision,” said T Shravan Kumar, local entrepreneur in Hyderabad.
Now the burden of fuel prices seems to be touching Pragathi Bhavan and in fact the decision of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is likely to give scope for BJP to create more problems in the state! Already BJP is on a high with a massive victory in Huzurabad by-election, now the opportunity of questioning KCR government with regards to fuel price is like giving a toy in the hands of a professional player.
Despite pressure from all quarters to reduce the VAT, KCR is not likely to consider this. The state is already facing huge cash crunch and losing out of VAT over the fuel would be further hit at the treasury, which the TRS government is not ready to take on the liability! It is said that the state earns around Rs 10,000 crores as VAT on petrol and diesel sales per year.
Meanwhile BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar has upped the antenna against KCR and has demanded immediately slash in VAT and help the common man from the fuel price burden. “If the TRS government was concerned about the people, it should immediately slash VAT like Uttar Pradesh government. During Huzurabad by-election, TRS tried malign BJP for fuel price rise, but it didn’t work out for the party. Now it is clear which party is having anti-people policies,” Sanjay said.