States should cut VAT to give relief to consumers: Puri on rising fuel prices

States should cut VAT to give relief to consumers: Puri on rising fuel prices

Mahasamund: Amid outcry over high fuel prices, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday said the Union government has been appealing to states to cut VAT on petrol and diesel for giving relief to consumers.

Puri was on a day-long visit to Mahasamund, designated as `aspirational district' under a Central scheme, in Chhattisgarh to take stock of various government schemes as part of the nationwide "samajik nyay pakhwada" (social justice fortnight) celebrations called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Asked by reporters about the rising prices of petrol and diesel, the minister said, Our effort is to keep the prices under control, therefore the Centre slashed excise duty on petrol and diesel last year and asked the state government to do the same.

"In Chhattisgarh, VAT on petrol and diesel is 24 percent and if it is reduced to 10 percent, the prices will automatically fall When the consumption is rising, even 10 percent (VAT) is too much, he added.

All BJP-ruled states have reduced VAT on petrol and diesel, Puri pointed out.

He also informed that he visited a Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Patewa village earlier in the day, and was happy to see the implementation of the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

The Minister also visited Mahasamund Medical College from where he went to the district panchayat office and chaired a meeting with officials to review the works being done under the aspirational district programme.

Mahasamund collector Nilesh Kumar Kshirsagar gave a detailed presentation on various schemes in the meeting.

Youth Congress workers tried to show black flags to the convoy of the Union minister to protest against rise in the prices of petroleum products, but were stopped

by police.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel termed Puri's visit as political and slammed the Centre for "stopping" the special fund given to naxal-hit districts of Bastar region.

The Central government has not been giving any additional funds to aspirational districts. Even the special fund of Rs 50 crore which was being given annually to naxal-affected districts of Bastar region till 2021 has been stopped.

These districts are also aspirational districts. On Wednesday I have asked Union home minister Amit Shah to resume this special assistance, the CM told reporters in Raipur.

It's good that he (union minister) has come but I think he has come to do politics, Baghel added.

The Union government launched the Transformation of Aspirational Districts' initiative in January 2018. A total of 117 Aspirational districts have been identified by

NITI Aayog.

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