Jharkhand's people may be shivering away in the severe cold wave, but the state government has chosen to cash in on their winter blues by imposing a value added tax (VAT) on blankets.
The Jharkhand cabinet late on Wednesday decided to impose a VAT of 4% on blankets, towels, napkins and handkerchiefs. Earlier, there was no such tax on these items.
The move has evoked immediate sharp reaction from opposition parties.
"The double standards of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been exposed. The BJP has launched an agitation against price hike and in Jharkhand it has imposed a VAT on blankets when the entire state is shivering," Rabindra Singh, a Congress leader, told IANS.
Bone chilling cold has claimed more than 130 lives in the state this winter. In more than 10 of the 24 districts, the minimum temperature is below 5 degrees Celsius.
By hiking the VAT, the state government is likely to mop up Rs 300 crore in additional revenue.
The VAT on motor parts has been hiked from 4% to 12.5%. The VAT on plywood and blackboards has been hiked from four to 12%.