A day after the Punjab government hiked the price of petrol and diesel by about 90 paise per litre, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday said the sharp increase in value added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel by the Aam Aadmi Party government would adversely affect the common man besides resulting in massive increase in prices of essential commodities.
In a statement, SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia said that it was shocking that the same party which had criticised the Union budget, asserting it would cause inflation, was increasing taxes even before presenting the state budget in the Assembly . “This is condemnable at a time when inflation is at an all time high,” he added.
Majithia also expressed surprise at the AAP government claim that the additional tax had been levied to mop up funds. “This government has already taken a loan of Rs 45,000 crore for this year. It has kept a budget of Rs 800 crore for advertisements alone. How will an additional income of Rs 480 crore from taxes on fuel help it when it has nothing to show for all the loans taken by it?,” he asked.
Majithia said that the increase in fuel prices would also result in smuggling with diesel being cheaper in neighbouring states like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir as well as the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
He said that before coming to power, AAP convener, Kejriwal had promised to make VAT on fuel at par with neighbouring states. “Instead of doing this, the government is increasing state VAT on both petrol and diesel”, the SAD leader added.