BJP, Cong oppose VAT hike on petrol, demand rollback

BJP, Cong oppose VAT hike on petrol, demand rollback

Opposition BJP and the Congress have virtually come together to mount pressure on the Delhi government to roll back the latest hike in value added tax (VAT).

The Delhi Congress said it was an unwarranted decision to hike VAT on petrol from 25 per cent to 27 per cent and diesel from 16.6 per cent to 18 per cent per litre (leading to a price hike of 96 paise per litre in petrol and 53 paise per litre in diesel).

The BJP said the government is passing on its own failure on the revenue generation front to the citizens with an additional burden of Rs 7,000 crore this fiscal.

Delhi Congress chief spokesperson Sharmistha Mukherjee told reporters that the Arvind Kejriwal government on realising that the target set for VAT collection was unrealistic, decided to hike VAT on petrol and diesel in a bid to mop up more money at the cost of milking the people dry.

She said it was an absolutely uncalled for decision as the AAP government, which, instead, should have revved up the tax collection machinery.

Mukherjee and Delhi Congress leader Chattar Singh also hit out at the AAP for raising the VAT on petrol and diesel twice in the last seven months between July 2015 to January 2016.

Mukherjee said though the people of Delhi have been made to pay for the mistakes of the Kejriwal government, it has no shortage of funds in earmarking a whopping Rs 526 crore for self publicity and a 400 per cent hike in the salaries of the MLAs.

Leader of Opposition of the BJP Vijender Gupta, in a separate statement, said: “There is no justification for second increase within a short period of six months. It clearly underlines the falling revenue collection and failure of the Delhi government to control it.”

Gupta said there are about 70 days left in the current financial year but the much publicised VAT model of the government has clearly shown signs of failure.

“The government has chosen to burden citizens with a VAT hike in place of augmenting of its own resources. Even with this increase, there appears to be little possibility of the government achieving its VAT collection target of Rs 24,000 crore,” said the BJP leader.

The Leader of Opposition said so far the government has collected only Rs 1,500 crore on stamp duty, registration charges, excise and land revenue. which is just 25 per cent of the projected target.

“The poor revenue generation is likely to impact the spending on development projects,” he said.

When asked about the sagging revenue collection and its possible impact on spending, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia all department heads have been told to prepare reports on needs related to spending and the government will discuss the issue with them soon.