Fuel tax hike to stay: CM

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Thursday announced an additional crop loan waiver worth Rs 10,700 crore without rolling back the tax hike on petrol and diesel despite pressure from his alliance partner, the Congress. DH file photo

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Thursday announced an additional crop loan waiver worth Rs 10,700 crore without rolling back the tax hike on petrol and diesel despite pressure from his alliance partner, the Congress.

The announcement came even as the Opposition
BJP walked out of the Legislative Assembly after Kumaraswamy failed to convince them on how the government planned to implement the loan waiver.  

“Active crop loans up to Rs 1 lakh borrowed from the cooperative sector, till July 10, 2018, will be waived. I have earmarked Rs 10,700 crore for this,” Kumaraswamy
told the Assembly. With this, the total crop loan waiver has gone up to Rs 44,000 crore from the original Rs 34,000 crore. This increase in
loan waiver qunatum will benefit 22.23 lakh farmers, he added.

Kumaraswamy ruled out withdrawing the sales tax hike on petrol and diesel. “The Union Finance Minister himself has stated that levy of duty is a significant source of funds. The Centre has hiked excise duty on fuel from Rs 9 to Rs 19 in the last four years. It was inevitable for me to do this,” he said.

His predecessor Siddaramaiah had, on Wednesday, written to Kumaraswamy asking him to reconsider the fuel price hike since it contrasted the Congress’ fight against Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the national level.

The chief minister also defended the increase in tax on consumption of electricity from 6% to 9%. “This will work out to Rs 188 crore. But it will not burden consumers. For domestic consumers, it’s an increase of just Rs 10 per month,” he said.

Anna Bhagya

Siddaramaiah had also asked Kumaraswamy to restore supply of 7 kgs rice under the flagship Anna Bhagya scheme. The budget has brought it down to 5 kgs, which Kumaraswamy defended. “Last year, the scheme cost Rs 2,541 crore. For me to enhance it this year, it will cost Rs 5,158 crore. The 2 kg of rice will have an additional burden of Rs 2,500 crore. However, I will take a decision on this,” he said, adding that the number of beneficiaries had increased under the scheme.

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Fuel tax hike to stay: CM

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