This decision, announced in the Legislative Assembly by State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, comes in light of the state’s current financial challenges. Although the government would ideally prefer to forgo this additional revenue, the fiscal constraints make this unfeasible. However, Isaac assured that a proper decision would be made once the state’s financial situation improves.
For now, the government is urging the BJP-led Central Government to reconsider their share of the tax, blaming the opposition for initiating the deregulation of petroleum prices during their tenure. The opposition, however, is demanding a more “humanitarian” approach to the issue, accusing both the central BJP government and the state’s LDF government of exploiting the people.
State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac elaborated on the state’s financial predicament, explaining how the current fiscal constraints are a significant obstacle to waiving the additional revenue. He reiterated that while the government understands the public’s concern over the increased burden due to petroleum taxation, the state’s economic situation leaves them with limited options.
However, in a glimmer of potential relief for the citizens, Isaac hinted that there might be prospects for change. He mentioned that if the state manages to bolster its financial standing through an uplift in revenue from other sources, there could be the potential for a reassessment of the current taxation policy on petroleum products.
State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac directly appealed to the central BJP government to reevaluate and reduce their share of the tax. Isaac contended that the financial burden this causes is beyond the state’s current fiscal capacity to sustain.
He argued that the central government’s substantial share of the tax revenue adds to the state’s financial stress, leaving it in a precarious economic position. This plea represents an attempt by the state government to alleviate some of the financial pressures exacerbated by the increased tax burden on petroleum products.
In an attempt to defend the government’s stance, Isaac reminded the assembly that the deregulation of petroleum prices, which has largely contributed to the current predicament, was initiated during the tenure of the Congress-led UPA government. This deregulation, he argues, paved the way for the present taxation issues, thus indirectly implicating the opposition in the current scenario.
However, this justification has been met with stark criticism from the UDF opposition. They contend that the LDF government is merely using past policies as a scapegoat for their reluctance to mitigate the burden of petroleum taxes on the people of Kerala. The opposition asserts that a humanitarian perspective should outweigh political blame games when it comes to addressing issues of public concern.
Members of the opposition, UDF, are calling upon the ruling LDF government to adopt a “humanitarian” stance and alleviate the tax burden on petroleum products. Drawing on historical precedents, they cited the actions of the previous UDF administration, which had waived additional tax revenue on multiple occasions.
The opposition claims that these tax deductions had provided the populace with a cumulative benefit of over Rs 600 crore. They argue that by following a similar course of action, the current government can provide substantive relief to the citizens, many of whom are grappling with the escalating costs of essential commodities, including petroleum products.
Ramesh Chennithala, leading the UDF, did not hold back in his criticism of the BJP-led central government and the LDF state administration, accusing them of exploiting the public through their tax policies. Chennithala strongly condemned what he termed as “plundering” of the people, expressing his vehement disapproval of the additional tax imposed on petroleum products.
His criticisms culminated in a dramatic walkout, which he justified as a necessary measure to highlight the situation’s urgency and demand a substantive discussion on the matter. He maintained that a discourse in the House could shed light on the “anti-people oil policy,” thereby exposing the alleged failings of both the Kerala and BJP governments.