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Centre depriving Opposition-ruled States of funds: Mamata

Centre depriving Opposition-ruled States of funds: Mamata

Kolkata:

West Bengal govt. rules out cut in State taxes on fuel

West Bengal govt. rules out cut in State taxes on fuel

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday ruled out any reduction in State taxes on fuel in the wake of the Union government reducing excise duty on petrol by ₹8 a litre and diesel by ₹6 a litre.  

The Chief Minister explained that owing to the Centre’s excise duty cut, the State would incur a loss of ₹1.80 on a litre of petrol and a loss of ₹1.03 on a litre of diesel. Ms. Banerjee also pointed out that earlier (February 2021), the State government had reduced the price of petrol and diesel by ₹1 a litre and because of the cumulative effect, the State was losing ₹2.80 a litre on petrol and ₹2.03 on diesel. According to the Chief Minister, the State exchequer is expected to lose ₹1,141 crore a year because of these reductions. 

The Chief Minister also compared the West Bengal’s “loss” to the rate cuts by Maharashtra, Kerala and Rajasthan.  About a month ago, Ms. Banerjee had claimed that the Centre owed the West Bengal government ₹97,000 crore.

She alleged that the Centre was depriving the non-BJP-ruled States of funds.  “We are not getting the funds the Centre owes us. The Opposition-ruled States are being deprived… We are being maligned politically.  Tughlaqi (totalitarian) rule is going on,” she said, referring to the BJP government at Centre.

Autonomy to agencies

The Chief Minister alleged that Union government was using Central agencies to interfere in the affairs of the States and bulldozing the federal structure of the country. Speaking to journalists at the State Secretariat, Ms. Banerjee alleged that the BJP’s rule at the Centre was “worse than that of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Benito Mussolini”.

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Claiming that the Union government was giving directions to investigation agencies, she demanded autonomy for them.  “Central agencies should work with autonomy without any political interference and only get salary from the Centre and nothing else,” she added.

Ms. Banerjee raised the issue of the recent raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI) at the residence of Rashtriya Janata Dal president and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad. “They [the government at the Centre] are trying to forcibly evict all the political leaders. The raids at Lalu Prasad’s residence occurred because elections are approaching in Bihar. It is to weaken the Opposition,” she said. 

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