The state government clarified on the floor of the House that it has no plans to decrease Value Added Tax (VAT) and other taxes on some commodities, including diesel, to control price rise.
Minister Ambika Choudhary, replying on behalf of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav during Question Hour, said: “VAT rates are rational in the state and are essential for the development of the state to fulfill the financial needs.”
The question was raised by the BJP’s Shyamdev Rai Choudhary, Bimla Singh Solanki, Congress leader Pradeep Mathur and Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Dalbeer Singh. These leaders opined that due to high VAT rates, several commodities, including diesel, are cheaper in adjoining states.
The minister also said a comparison of 850 articles were done to check VAT rates of adjoining states. “Only 81 commodities had more rates than adjoining states. VAT is not the reason for price rise, but it is the wrong policies of central government,” Choudhary said.
He also reminded the BJP that rail fare, petrol, diesel prices have increased since their party has assumed power at the Centre. “I will not take names of Ambani and Adani for it,” he said.
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Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan chipped in: “Prices of sugar have been increased and I will not take Nawaz Sharif’s name for this.”
BJP leader Satish Mahana said “good days” will be ushered in by his party and that rail fare has been increased following a policy decision by the previous government. “If these are good days, keep it to yourself,” Azam said.
Congress leader Pradeep Mathur said the BJP will soon have to pay the price for inflation.
RLD leader Dalbeer Singh sought reduction of VAT rate on agriculture implements which was turned down as they are already free from VAT.
BJP member Bimla Singh Solanki enquired about reduction of tax rate on diesel, which was rejected on the ground that UP already had a lowest tax slab in diesel and petrol.