The Centre noted that 14 states, including major opposition-ruled ones like Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, are among those that are yet to lower their levies.
Government data showed that since the Centre reduced excise duty, Leh had seen the sharpest reduction in petrol (Rs 13.43 a litre) and diesel (Rs 19.61 a litre) prices. Among the bigger cities, Bangalore topped the list with petrol and diesel prices falling by Rs 13.35 and Rs 19.49 a litre.
The government statement came as several opposition-ruled states ruled out an immediate cut, while Odisha decided to lower VAT by Rs 3 a litre from Friday midnight.
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday announced a 4% cut in VAT and slashed cess too. The cuts brought down petrol price to Rs 107.21 per litre and diesel to Rs 90.86 in Bhopal. Faced with BJP charging that they were refusing to do what they had wanted the Centre to do, Kerala was the most upfront in ruling out a reduction.
“There is no logic behind the demand that Kerala should forgo the tax share. The Centre collects more tax per litre of fuel than the state. It’s wrong to say there was no additional price reduction in Kerala. When the Centre slashed diesel and petrol prices by Rs 10 and Rs 5, the effective reduction in Kerala is Rs 12.30 and Rs 6.56 respectively. The additional reduction is the Kerala’s contribution,” Kerala finance minister KN Balagopal said.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, whose party is part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, suggested that the Centre should release GST compensation to states to enable them to reduce VAT. His comments came after the state indicated that it was not going for a reduction immediately.
Chattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel demanded UPA-era levies on fuel and sought copies of the notification from BJP states, when asked about the state’s plan to lower VAT.
Congress, which is in the opposition in Delhi and Kerala, demanded reduction in VAT by the AAP and Left Front governments. In any case, after the Centre reduced the Union excise duty, BJP leaders have been pushing opposition ruled states to cut VAT. “If the Centre and BJP states can give relief to people, why not the Congress states,” BJP said.