The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday supported its government's move to increase value-added tax (VAT) on diesel, cold drinks and cigarettes “to mobilise funds for development”.
In a statement issued here, SAD general secretary Maheshinder Singh Grewal said the rate of diesel in Punjab was among the lowest as compared to other states in the country. He said it was “appropriate” of the SAD-BJP government to increase the tax “by only 1%”, keeping in view the state’s agrarian economy.
He also lauded the government's “bold” move to increase VAT on cold drinks and cigarettes by 5% and 9.5%, respectively, saying that the funds so generated could be used to give a “further boost” to development.
Reacting to Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa's statement on the issue, Grewal said that statement had been made “with the sole motive of warding off criticism over his own failures”.
“Bajwa finds himself completely isolated in Punjab and has had to even bear the brunt of his party high command's anger recently due to his repeated failures in elections,” he added. Grewal termed it unfortunate that Bajwa “never voiced his resentment when petrol and diesel rates were increased scores of times during UPA rule”.