Tamil Nadu Minister Slams Nirmala Sitharaman’s “Shameless Hypocrisy”
Palanivel Thiagarajan, the Finance Minister of Tamil Nadu, made no apologies for criticising Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday for “exhorting” states to reduce their share of gasoline and diesel taxes, saying his state did not need “dictation from people who perform worse than us.”
“We have one of the best statistical results of any Indian government. We reduced the revenue deficit from 60,000 crores to somewhere around 40,000 crores. Our budget deficit is half of the federal government’s. We have twice the national average per capita income. When the national inflation rate is 8%, our inflation rate is only 5%. We know exactly what we’re doing. Nobody is going to tell us what to do. We don’t need orders from people who don’t perform as well as we do. We don’t like it when other people force us to do things we don’t want to do in an unconstitutional, authoritarian manner.” Mr. Thiagarajan explained.
“I don’t recall them using the word’request’ anywhere. They made demands, and the Union Finance Minister, I believe, used the word “exhort.” None of this, in my opinion, is permitted by the constitution. To the extent that we have left, the constitution allows states to manage their own finances “he said.”The Union Government did not consult the states when it raised excise three times on gasoline and ten times on diesel, shifting it from pure excise to cess and surcharge. They reduced our share of the pie. They lacked compassion and consideration at the time. They’ve had a bad tax policy for the past seven years, and now that the chickens are coming home to roost, they’re turning us into fake villains. This is heinous. This is blatant hypocrisy “said the minister.
“It went up from ₹ 9.4 to ₹ 32.5, they cut ₹ 5 once and ₹ 8 once. You take away ₹ 13, that’s still ₹ 19. That’s still double the rate that was being taxed when this government came to power. Let’s take diesel. It was ₹ 3.4 or something, they took it up to ₹ 32, they cut it by ₹ 10 and another ₹ 8 or 6 whatever they’ve cut. So, they are still four or five times where they were,” Mr Thiagarajan added.
The DMK leader’s vehement rebuke came just two days after Ms Sitharaman announced a series of fuel tax cuts and changes to key commodity levies in an attempt to protect consumers from rising prices amid high inflation. She also requested that states contribute and reduce their contributions.
According to her, the new tax regime on gasoline and diesel could result in a loss of about 1 trillion Indian rupees in annual revenue for the government due to lower collection.
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