Dr Mukul Sangma urges Govt to reverse decision to hike VAT on Petrol & Diesel

Shillong, Apr 23: Meghalaya Leader of Opposition Dr Mukul Sangma, on Thursday, urged the state government to reverse their decision to increase the taxes levied on Petrol and Diesel. The decision to hike up the Value Added Tax on petrol and diesel comes even as the global crude oil plummeted due to COVID-19.

The price of a liter of petrol will now cost Rs 74.9 while the cost of a litre of diesel will cost Rs 67.5.

In a letter to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Dr Mukul Sangma said, “While people are looking forward with patience to announcement of relief and succor, the State government of Meghalaya has decided to increase tax realization from its citizens by increasing the Value Added Tax on petrol and diesel and only to fill their coffers.”

Stating that the tax burden is bound to augment the stress on common men, particularly farmers and other vulnerable groups, the Leader of Opposition pointed out that “COVID-19 outbreak is a “notified disaster” under Disaster Management Act 2005. Therefore measures required to be taken by the State Government is, besides various comprehensive measures, is to: ensure rescue and relief; provide rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance to the affected.”

He said that any decision of the Government to levy additional burden of tax is contrary to the expected line of response.

Further, he mentioned that when the global crude prices skyrocketed, the cost burden was passed on to the consumers. “Now that the global crude oil price has hit rock bottom, the price benefit should be passed on to the masses,” he said.

“The entire world is gripped in the tackling of the pandemic and have activated all resources to deal with the combined impact of both the health crisis and the serious collateral stress on the economy by invoking multipronged measures,” the letter read.

“Governments across the globe, including our Union Government of India have worked out comprehensive measures and interventions including restrictions (in many cases-almost complete restrictions) on movement and economic activities of the whole populace,” he said.

Dr Mukul Sangma stressed that the pandemic and the measures put in place have twin sequels: health crisis and serious economic distress putting people in extreme hardships.

He added that the policy makers in the government should take cognizance of the hardships faced by people due to loss of jobs, farmers, people under mental stress and plan appropriate interventions and implement them accordingly to alleviate the sufferings of the masses to help recover from the economic shock.

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