‘Accidental’ tweet on petro tax cut leaves Uttarakhand govt red-faced
Finance minister Prakash Pant shot down any such possibility minutes after the CMO tweet, clarifying that there was no question of taking a step like this when the government had reduced value-added tax and cess on petro products only recently.dehradun Updated: Oct 11, 2017 18:45 IST
Few were as surprised as the Uttarakhand finance minister on Monday, when chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat’s office tweeted about an impending cut in petro taxes to provide the public with some much-needed relief.
Finance minister Prakash Pant shot down any such possibility minutes later, clarifying that there was no question of taking a step like this when the government had reduced value-added tax (VAT) and cess on petrol and diesel only recently. This caused confusion among government officials for hours, even as netizens had a field day poking fun at an administration that didn’t seem to know what was happening under its own roof.
“In adherence to the Centre’s advice, our government has decided to cut 2% VAT and cess on petrol and diesel. This will give relief to the public (sic),” Rawat’s official handle had tweeted in Hindi earlier in the day. Though the tweet was deleted soon afterwards, many managed to save screenshots of the same. CMO coordinator Darshan Rawat eventually said the tweet was “accidental”.
Pant admitted there was some confusion on the matter. “We had already reduced 2% VAT and 1.5% cess on petrol and diesel a while ago. There is no question of cutting it further,” the finance minister told HT after emerging from a cabinet meeting. “The government will compare the rates of diesel and petrol with neighbouring states, and take a decision on further cuts accordingly.”
Sources said certain elements in the Uttarakhand government were eager to effect further cuts in VAT after BJP-ruled Gujarat and Maharashtra decided to do the same. However, the idea was shot down after officials pointed out on the sidelines of the cabinet meet that any such move would deprive the state of a major chunk of revenue.
Gujarat slashed 4% VAT on Tuesday in view of rising oil prices, while Maharashtra reduced Rs 2 on petrol and Re 1 on diesel.