Chennai: As the petrol and diesel prices hit a new peak on Friday, the Tamil Nadu government ruled out a tax cut on the fuel charges while citing the burden of its welfare measures and putting the onus on the BJP Government to give any relief to the common man. Senior minister D Jayakumar has asked the Centre to halve its excise duty on diesel to provide huge relief to the common man.
Speaking to reporters here, the minister pointed out that the state government was delivering various welfare measures to the tune of Rs 77,000 crore and any cut on the state taxes on fuel could derail those sops. “For the Central government, which collects tax from many sources, it is not a big thing at all (to effect a tax cut). The central excise duty of about Rs 16 per litre (on diesel) can be halved to Rs 8 which will be a big relief,” he said, adding, “This is the plea of the Amma government”.
On Friday, one litre of petrol in Chennai was being sold at Rs 83.13 while diesel cost Rs 76.17. The rising fuel prices caused public distress and triggered political debate, with the Congress announcing a nation-wide shutdown on September 10 against the spiraling rates.
The Centre has said it will not cut excise duty on petrol and diesel to cushion the spiraling prices, citing limited fiscal space available to take any dent in revenue collections.
To a question on the Supreme Court directing the TN Governor to consider the mercy petition of A G Perarivalan, a convict in the 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Jayakumar reiterated the state government stand in support of the release of all the seven convicts in the case. Further course of action would be decided after going through the judgement copy, he added. The minister also hit out at DMK President MK Stalin for seeking a state cabinet resolution for their immediate release, asking what his party had done on the matter despite being a part of the Central Government for several years in both the UPA-1 and UPA-II. On the other hand, all efforts for getting them released were taken “only by the Amma government,” the minister said.