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Punjab CM refuses to reduce VAT on Petrol
June, 05th 2008

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday while strongly condemned present hike in prices of Petroleum products, ruled out the possibility of reducing VAT on Petrol and diesel in the state which is at present 27.5 and 8 percent respectively and highest among all the northern states.

 Chandigarh charges only 22 percent VAT on Petrol and at national level VAT is charged at an average of 20 percent. Interestingly Badal being leader of opposition had himself demanded to withdraw hike in VAT on Petrol by the then Amarinder Singh Government in June 2006.

Chief Minister said here that state government has no proposal to give relief to farmers by reducing VAT on diesel. He side tracked the query on cut in VAT on Petrol saying, "This would not be possible". He was posed with a question if his governmetn was ready to give relief to common man and the farmers after hike in Petrol, diesel rates by center government. He quipped,"Diesel is already cheaper in Punjab than neighbouring states".

Punjab governmetn which is reeling under financial crisis didn't want to loose income from VAT on Petrol which accounts for highest share in VAT colletion of about 5000 crores. Punjab collected total Vat  till January 2008 were Rs 4,966 crore, including Central Sales Tax (CST) of Rs 294 crore. Surprisingly the Vat collection from  petrol only accounted for Rs 1,239 crore, agriculture accounted for Rs 592 crore,  liquor Rs 24 crore, automobiles Rs 497 crore and other services Rs 2,317 crore.

Meanwhile,  Bikram Singh Majithia, Patron Youth Akali Dal and Public Relations Minister demanded the resignation of economist duo Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Union Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram for their stark failure to reign in spiraling inflation. He also demanded the resignation of Sonia Gandhi from Lok Sabha for her failure to check price rise.
Condemning the steep hike in the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG hitting the common man and farmers alike, Majithia said that it was unfortunate that this hike in petro price is aimed to benefit few handful multinational companies. He said that it was a matter of regret that whole issue of petro price hike campaign was organized  by Union Government to favour few companies ignoring the hardship of crores of Indian citizens who were already reeling under the impact of record inflation. He also questioned the silence of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on the critical issue of price hike.
Reacting sharply on hike in fuel prices  Manornajan Kalia, Industry & Commerce Minister Punjab said that the UPA Government has failed to check the inflation.   He said that the spiraling prices and an economic slowdown were going hand in hand during the present regime of the United Progressive Alliance.
Squarely blaming the Centre Government for hike in fuel prices of petrol by Rs. 5 per liter, diesel by Rs. 3 per liter and LPG by Rs. 50 per cylinder would break the backbone of the consumer. Kalia said that with this hike the prices of petroleum products would also shoot up and put heavy burden on the house hold budget of the common man.  Kalia said the decision of Centre Government to hike the fuel prices was suicidal and highly unjustified.

Senior B.J.P.Leader and Medical Education Minister Tikshan Sud today alleged that by steeply hiking the rate of Petrol, Diesel and L.P.G., U.P.A. Government has fulfilled the agenda of multinational companies like Reliance and Craine India mortgaging the Indian Economy in their hands.

Sud reminded that N.D.A. Government under the leadership of Mr.Atal Behari Vajpayee had brought inflation at 2% and cushioned the common man from any price rise.  He said that people of India are now itching to bring back B.J.P. to power by electing Mr. Lal Krishan Advani as next Prime Minister of India.

Punjab Governor, Gen. (Retd.) S.F. Rodrigues, Thursday appealed to the members of Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) totake a leadership role in empowering the people living below the poverty line (BPL) through education, to make them equal partners in our development and social transformation.

Addressing the 30th Annual Function of LMA, today at Ludhiana General Rodrigues said that India is emerging as the World's thirdlargest economy, with a targeted 9% growth rate and the other nations are looking to us for skilled manpower and management techniques.  Our people have the potential, capabilities and capacities and the need is to stretch their abilities by giving them opportunities of improving their knowledge, confidence and competence.

General Rodrigues presented LMA Vardhman Award for Entrepreneur of the year, 2007 to Dr. Gopal Munjal, LMA-Dayanand Munal Award for Manager of the year, 2007 to Mr. P.K. Markandey, LMA-Trident Award for Young Innovative Entrepreneur of the year 2007 to Mr. Rishi Oswal, and LMA-Satpal Mittal Life Time Achievement Award for the year 2007 to Mr. Mahashay Dharampal. He also released a Annual Journal of the LMA.

Dr. Gopal Munjal, who presented keynote address on the occasion highlighted the features of Vision 2020 with focus on restructuring our strategies for promoting agriculture, industrial economy, restructuring education system and improving Service Delivery Systems alongwith tackling various problems of fast rising population, budget deficits and prevailing corrupt practices in different fields.He emphasized the need for strengthening collaboration between Government and private sectors for achieving better results.

Punjab will send a strong and  high- powered delegation to represent the state at the India Calling Conference in Canada from June 14 to 19 this year. The Conference is being organized at Vancouver and Toronto.

The delegation, to be led by a Cabinet Minister, would comprise leading lights from the world of trade, commerce, industry, agriculture, education, literature, healthcare, infrastructure development, NRI welfare and  information technology.

The decision was taken after the Canadian High Commissioner in India, David Malone called on the Punjab Chief Minister  Parkash Singh Badal  here this morning.

Disclosing this on Wednesday, Harcharan Bains, Media Advisor to Punjab Chief Minister said that although this year's Conference would focus on Education, ICT, Alterative Sources of Energy and Life Sciences, Punjab would use this opportunity both to showcase the advances made by the state in various spheres of development as well as to step up the state government's bonding with the Punjabi Diaspora  in Canada.  In addition, the delegation would also seek to attract material and intellectual inputs from different fields to reinforce its own thrust towards achieving global standards for the people of the state, said . Bains.

 Meanwhile, the Punjab Chief Secretary, Ramesh Inder Singh has said that the composition of the delegation would also reflect the state government's efforts towards fully implementing the decisions taken at the NRI Sammelan held at Chandigarh and Jalandhar earlier this year. One of the decisions taken at the Sammelan was to hold 'Sangat Darshans' to redress the problems of the NRIs at the places of their settlement.  The state government would tie up with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Northern Region in constitute the delegation, said the Chief Secretary.

 In the morning's meeting, the High Commissioner made a strong plea for increased inter-low of what he called "human synergies" between the people of Punjab and Canada. Malone said that there was a ' a whole world of opportunities in various fields for the people of the two regions for through constructive collaboration.' The High Commissioner was accompanied by Consul General  Helen Economo Amundsn and Trade Commissioner Service Gurbans Sobti of local Consulate General of Canada.

Bains said that the Chief Minister and the High Commissioner saw a lot of merit in the vision offered by the organizers of the Conference who chose the Canadian soil for hosting the Conference as they felt that Canada and India have a lot of common interests. Canada is home for more than one million people of Indian origin, a majority of them Punjabis who have led from the front in the world of politics, business, industry and education.

The  Chief Minister said that since both Canada and Punjab are strong and growing economies, the two can work together for integrated development, especially as they shared a large number of strengths and weaknesses.  It may be recalled that Canada is a part of NAFTA, a free trade area consisting of more than 450 million people; and it has an internationally competitive tax and fiscal regime. As such, Punjab saw an opportunity in expanding bilateral trade and investment with the entire zone through Canada, said Mr. Bains.

Badal also asked the High Commissioner to set up some mechanism in his country to facilitate tie-ups between educational institutions here and reputed places of learning in Canada, like the University of Saskatchewan and the premier educational institutions of British Columbia and Ontario to impart quality education to our youth.  Mr. Malone said that his stress would be in evolving a mechanism for channeling the Punjabi students to only the accredited and acclaimed places of learning in his country. He also offered to explore the possibility of training courses for the Punjab teachers in disciplines in which Canada was known to be a world leader.

 Principal Secretary to Chief Minister DS Guru and Commissioner NRI Affairs AS Chhatwal also attended the meeting.

Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt. Kanwaljit Singh has said that the SAD-BJP government was committed to safeguard interests of every section of society and accordingly it would solve the problems faced by the property dealers in the state.

Addressing a meeting of Patiala Property Dealers Association, he said that Real estate agents have been contributing for the over all development of the state. He however warned agents not to indulge in malpractices and adopt fair dealings.

He said that after the current elections Block Samitis, Zila Parishads and Panchayats would be over he would personally take up the matter of problems faced by the dealers with the Chief Minister.

He said government would take every possible step to solve the issues including reducing the registration rate of land. He said that government was committed to safeguards interests of every section of the society.

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