As more Congress-ruled states cut local taxes on the just hiked petroleum products including diesel and cooking gas, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha on Tuesday also followed suit, but under protest.
Jayalalitha said the hike in cooking gas price, in particular by Rs 50 a cylinder, is not only unacceptable and but also imposes unbearable hardships on womenfolk, including a large number of consumers from the lower middle and middle classes. Jayalalitha announced that the 4 per cent VAT on LPG in the state would be waived. This will come into effect from July 1.
Consequently, the cooking gas cylinder price in Tamil Nadu will drop from Rs 404.40 to Rs 389.67, giving a relief of Rs 14.73 per cylinder of LPG to every household, Jayalalitha said in a statement here on Tuesday evening.
In future, the state will not levy VAT (value-added tax) on cooking gas as a permanent measure of relief to suffering womenfolk.
Stating that this was the maximum the government could do under the present circumstances, Jayalalitha said the annual loss to the state exchequer would be Rs120 crore. But the state has decided to take on this burden with no signs of the Central Government showing any inclination to roll-back the latest hike in petro-products prices, including diesel, she noted.
Hitting out strongly against the UPA justifying the price-hike decision solely on the basis of international crude oil prices hardening, Jayalalitha said for the Centre to later tell the states to cut the local taxes on these commodities was ludicrous.
She pointed out that not all petroleum products in the country were manufactured entirely from imported crude.