Himachal Pradesh CM justifies VAT hike on Diesel, cites lower rates compared to neighbouring states
Shimla, July 15
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu justified the recent three rupee hike in the Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel by comparing it to the higher rates in neighboring states such as Punjab, Haryana, and Uttarakhand.
During a media interaction, Sukhu explained that the increase in VAT on diesel was necessary to boost state resources following the significant losses caused by recent heavy rainfall. He mentioned that the decision to reduce VAT on fuel prices by seven rupees per litre was made by the previous BJP government during the 2022 elections, which resulted in a lower rate compared to other states. He clarified that the government had increased VAT on diesel by one rupee per litre in December 2022 and further increased it to three rupees per litre.
The Chief Minister emphasized that it was not only Himachal Pradesh that had raised VAT on fuel prices but also states like Punjab, Haryana, and Uttarakhand, which levied considerably higher VAT rates on diesel. He argued that it was essential to maintain diesel and petrol prices at par with other states and that the state could not be an exception.
Sukhu informed that the state ministers and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) had decided to contribute their one-month salary to the state flood relief operations, and all state employees would contribute one day’s salary.
He further mentioned that the state had received an advance installment of Rs 150 crores for the calamity relief fund, but the central government had not yet announced any additional relief or assistance package to support the relief operations and repair affected roads and infrastructure. However, he added that he had personally contacted Home Minister Amit Shah, who assured him that the central government would announce assistance soon.
He said that a team from the Centre is scheduled to arrive on Monday to access the losses.
Sukhu acknowledged that it would take at least one year to restore the damaged infrastructure to normalcy. The state government is making efforts to secure additional funds from the central government and various departments while also seeking support from the public to compensate those who have suffered losses of property and life.
The Chief Minister expressed his satisfaction that no tourists had lost their lives during the torrential rainfall and flash floods that occurred from July 7 to 10. He also mentioned that approximately 70,000 stranded tourists had been successfully evacuated from the state as of this morning.
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