SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Wednesday appealed the state government that it was time to revisit the state levies on petrol/diesel. The chamber has expressed serious concern at the continuous rise in the prices of petrol and diesel and has called for an ‘immediate cut’ in the excise duty and state levies.
KCCI also urged the state government to “urgently take up the reduction in excise duty” on petrol and diesel with the government of India.
The chamber further accused that both the state and government of India “seem unwilling to give any concession on this account at the cost of the public”.
In a statement, President KCCI Javed Ahmad Tenga said that the prices of petrol and diesel in India were the highest amongst all the south Asian countries and this was only due to taxes and levies accounting for half of the rate. The government had hiked the excise duty nine times but reduced it only once.
Tenga said, “Even after collecting whopping amount of Rs 2 lakh 42 thousand crores in excise duties for the year 2016-17, the government has failed to make necessary reductions in the taxes.”
”This has resulted in loading of an unwarranted burden on the common man and the consequent increase in prices of all essentials. The government after imposing the highest tax rates on petroleum products quietly withdrew and introduced the daily price revision system which gives autonomy to oil PSUs to revise rates daily since June, 2017,” he said further.
He said that the PSUs have been steadily increasing the rates by 10 paisa to 30 paisa which more or less goes unnoticed. “The end result is the highest petrol and diesel prices since years,” he added.
“The lesson drawn is when international crude prices decrease, the government earns lakhs of crores, when the prices increase – the common man is made to pay,” he asserted.
Referring to some press reports, KCCI president said “even though the oil ministry had sought a reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel, the Union Finance Minister has chosen to give no concessions. The disruption of economic activity because of demonetisation and GST is being compensated by the high excise duties.”
In addition, the state government has also not taken any step to reduce the burden on account of state levies on petrol and diesel, the statement added.