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NC terms excise duty cut on petrol, diesel ‘mere eyewash’

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Seeks reduction in VAT on fossil fuels to save consumers from sky-rocketing fuel prices

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Thursday termed the reduction in petrol and diesel prices “mere eyewash” and below par when compared to the exorbitant cumulative increase in the previous months.

Echoing the public sentiment on the meager decrease in the petrol and diesel rates, NC spokesperson said that when petroleum prices were deregulated, the assurance was zero excise duties but the government has just come up with cosmetic measures, which are below par as compared to the cumulative hike in the price of fossil fuels since 2018.

Calling the reduction a knee-jerk reaction to the losses in by-poll elections, party spokesperson said these measures won’t provide much relief to consumers who have been at receiving end due to the incessant tax imposition.

“The measures are not enough and just meant to save the situation arising in wake of the poll debacle it has faced in the bypolls to various Lok Sabha and Assembly seats across the country. It is the electoral setback which has prompted the BJP government to slash rates on petrol and diesel.

“If the government was really concerned about people, then it should have refrained from increasing petrol and diesel rates or at least modulated the rates by decreasing the excise duty  to ensure that the rates are affordable for consumers,” he said.

The Central excise duty on petrol was ₹19.48 and diesel ₹15.33 in 2017, and with the reduction announced today, it’s still ₹27.90 for petrol and ₹21.80 for diesel, the spokesperson pointed out.

He said “unimaginable misery brought by hike in the petrol and diesel prices is having a crippling impact on the savings of middle- and lower-middle class families across the country and J&K is no exception to it.”

Now that the states have been asked to reduce VAT (Value Added Tax) on petrol and diesel to give relief to the consumers, it is expected that the J&K administration will also take immediate and concrete steps to comply.

“Additional VAT reduction on petrol and diesel will directly benefit the people in J&K and save them out-of-pocket expenditures on their daily commute. Such a reduction will also decrease the freight charges and result in decrease in inflation to a greater extent. We hope that the incumbent administration will take steps in this direction at an earliest,” NC said.

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