Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah defends hike in petrol and diesel prices

The Uncut

Bangalore. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday defended the hike in petrol and diesel prices, saying it will ensure funding of essential public services and development projects. Opposition parties in the state BJP and Janata Dal (Secular) criticised the Congress government for increasing petrol and diesel prices by Rs 3 and Rs 3.5 per litre respectively. After this, the Chief Minister said that even after the price hike, taxes on fuel are lower than in most southern states.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said in a statement, “The Karnataka government has increased VAT (value added tax) on petrol to 29.84 percent and on diesel to 18.44 percent. Despite this increase, taxes on fuel in our state are lower than most South Indian states and states with similar economy like Maharashtra.” According to him, VAT on petrol is 25 percent and there is an additional tax of Rs 5.12, while in Maharashtra VAT on diesel is 21 percent. He said that Karnataka’s revised rates are still more affordable than other states.

“Karnataka’s VAT adjustment ensures that we can finance essential public services and development projects. The state is committed to balanced and responsible governance,” Siddaramaiah said. The chief minister said that despite the increase in VAT, diesel prices in Karnataka are still lower than Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. He also took a dig at the opposition BJP which has decided to hold a statewide protest on Monday.

The Chief Minister alleged, “The then double engine BJP government colluded to send Karnataka’s resources to other states. The BJP government in the state kept reducing VAT on petrol and diesel, while the central government increased its taxes.” Siddaramaiah said that before the BJP came to power in 2014, the central excise duty on petrol was Rs 9.48 per liter and on diesel Rs 3.56. However, during the tenure of the BJP government, the central excise duty on petrol and diesel increased to a record high of Rs 32.98 and Rs 31.83 respectively in May 2020.

He said that after this, excise duty on petrol and diesel was reduced by Rs 13 and Rs 16 per liter respectively between November 2021 and May 2022. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, “Despite the cuts, the current central excise duty on petrol is Rs 19.9 and on diesel is Rs 15.8. We urge the central government to reduce these taxes in the interest of the public.”

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