Petrol will be cheaper by Rs 2 and diesel by Re 1 per litre across Maharashtra from midnight today after the state government reduced the value-added tax (VAT) on the fuels. Making the announcement about VAT reduction on petrol and diesel today, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar termed it as a "Diwali gift" to people of the state. The revised rates will be applicable from midnight today, he said. "The chief minister has approved a proposal to reduce the VAT on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 and Re 1 a litre, respectively. This is our Diwali gift to the masses," Mungantiwar told PTI. He said the decision will cause an annual revenue loss of Rs 2,000 crore to the state exchequer. "The government is ready to bear the additional financial burden despite Maharashtra's economy not being in a good shape," he said. Reacting to the government's decision, the Shiv Sena said there is a scope for further reduction in the prices of petrol and diesel, while other opposition parties termed the move as an "eyewash". "This (fuel price cut) was very essential. However, the prices can be further reduced.
Instead of making an one- time announcement and later increasing (the rates) again, the government should be more transparent. "The government should come out with a roadmap, detailing the quantum of fuel price cut it was planning in the next one year," Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party is part of the BJP-led ruling coalition in the state. Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan said the reduction is just an "eyewash" and reflects "poor" financial management of the Devendra Fadnavis government. "The price of crude oil (in global market) is around USD 50 a barrel. Going by this, the petrol price should not be more than Rs 40 a litre," Chavan said. "This reduction hardly means anything. Fuel prices should be drastically slashed," the former chief minister added. The NCP termed the VAT reduction as "minor" and said it was like giving "alms" to people. Party leader Nawab Malik said, "We have been demanding that the government (must) stop the loot of people. Instead of doing that, the government is giving alms to people which they don't need".
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