By levying new taxes the government has cheated the people and is imposing an additional burden on them says Ashok Chavan.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) President Ashok Chavan has alleged that Fadnavis government has levied surcharge on petrol and diesel and increased VAT on liquor, cigarettes and beverages for celebrating its first anniversary. By levying new taxes the government has cheated the people and is imposing an additional burden on them. Chavan had criticised the state government for curtailing funds for the social welfare schemes. He said that when a state like Bihar was able to receive package for development Maharashtra was unable to do the same. Despite having the same government at the centre and state Maharashtra has been sidelined and farmers are suffering hardships due to drought. The Devendra Fadnavis government will complete a year in the office on October 31.
Chavan criticised the state government for deceiving the people by abolishing Local Body Tax on petrol and diesel but levying surcharge on these products. He wanted the state government to withdraw the levy and VAT failing which the Congress will organise an agitation in the state on 5th and 6th October.
“The money which will be spent on organising the state government’s first anniversary celebrations could be utilised for providing financial assistance to drought hit farmers. The government is least bothered about the plight of farmers. Even though the petrol and diesel prices have fallen in the international market but Indian people have not derived any benefit out of it as the government had increased excise duty four times” said Chavan.
Chavan asked why the state government has failed to impose a ban on Sanatan Sanstha and whether it is backing the outfit. “Why has the government failed to take action against the outfit even though it has threatened police and journalists?” asked Chavan.
Leader of Opposition in Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil charged that the government planned to advertise its “so called” performance, and slapped the additional taxes to raise funds for it.
“I wonder why the government, which has steadfastly refused to waive crop loans of farmers who are reeling under drought, readily gives tax concessions to rich businesses,” he said, alleging that the state government, however, had reduced fund allocation for social justice schemes.
Patil said the government rejected Congress’s demand for farm loan waiver, but revoked the Local Body Tax on petrol and diesel.
“The government will have to bear a burden of Rs 350 crore, but the common man will not benefit by this decision. It plans to use the funds from additional taxes to celebrate its first year in the office,” he said.
By levying additional taxes the state government is expected to mop up revenue of Rs 1,600 crore.
State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said, “Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has asked all departments to make a list of how to generate more revenue and cut down on expenditure. We will have a special Cabinet meeting to discuss the same next month.”
Mungantiwar said fiscal burden was about Rs 7,500 crore due to various steps being taken by the government to mitigate hardships of the farmers reeling under unseasonal rains, drought, crop loss and water scarcity.
He rebutted the charge, saying no special provision for celebrating first year in office had been made. “There is no provision other than what is budgeted to propagate the government schemes. Government is a trustee of people’s money,” he said.