The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last Friday announced that it had cut excise duty on imported foreign liquor by 50 percent. State excise department officials said that excise duty on imported whisky, brandy, rum, and vodka has been brought down from 300 percent to 150 percent of the manufacturing cost.
An official was quoted as saying by PTI, “The excise duty on imported scotch whiskey has been brought down from 300 percent to 150 percent of the manufacturing cost,”
Slashing duty on liquor but what about slashing VAT on petrol?
While the MVA government is slashing prices of liquor, this is the same government that is yet to take a call on the reduction of value-added tax (VAT) on petrol and bring direct relief to the majority of the population.
As reported by TFI, ahead of Diwali, the Union government led by Narendra Modi had provided much-needed economic relief to the people of the country by cutting petrol prices with the BJP led state governments soon following the suit.
However, politicians of the non-BJP states still preferred politics over the joy of people who brought them to power.
The central government had reduced the excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and Rs 10. A similar reduction in VAT was announced by various BJP-ruled states and Union territories as they slashed VAT by a minimum of Rs 3.20 in Bihar to a maximum of Rs 12 in Uttar Pradesh.
The states and UTs which decided to cut VAT on fuel prices were Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Haryana, Assam, Chandigarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, and Puducherry.
Maharashtra government dilly-dallying on reducing the VAT
However, leading the charge in not reducing the VAT were states like Maharashtra. Sanjay Raut, the Key figure of the MVA government in Maharashtra tried to deflect from the issue by asking the centre to reduce excise duty by at least Rs 25- conveniently side-stepping the discussion of his government’s call on VAT.
If Petrol remains expensive, everything on the food table gets expensive, including the scotch that the Uddhav government so desperately wants to serve the public of Maharashtra. Fuel inflation hits the essential items while liquor, to date, remains a non-essential commodity for an overwhelming majority of the population.