No scope for reducing Sales Tax on petrol, diesel: Minister

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Hyderabad, Jun 6 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister K Rosaiah today maintained that there was no scope for reducing Sales Tax on petrol and diesel after the state government's ''conscious'' decision to bear the entire hike of Rs 50 on cooking gas implemented by the Centre.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the state exchequer would entail an expenditure of more than Rs 300 crore in the wake of its decision to bear the hike in cooking gas price in deference to the sentiments of womenfolk.

''There is no scope for meddling with Sales Tax on petrol and diesel,'' he clarified.

The state government would not be perturbed by the Opposition stir, Mr Rosaiah said, asking how many times the then Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had reduced Sales Tax on petroleum products when the TDP-supported NDA Government at the Centre had hiked the fuel prices as many as 22 times.

On the other hand, the Congress government had initially reduced the VAT from 16 per cent to 12.5 per cent and then to four per cent, he added.

To a question, Mr Rosaiah said UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had only asked the states to share part of the burden and not suggested any special Sales Tax rate on petroleum products.

The state government, which had decided to provide Rs 1,100 crore relief to farmers who were uncovered by the Centre's Rs 60,000 crore loan waiver scheme, suffered a revenue loss of Rs 600 crore last year after introduction of the VAT and was expected to lose another Rs 500 crore this year.

The state government was expected to get a revenue of over Rs 300 crore by way of 33 per cent Sales Tax on petrol and 22.25 per cent on diesel, Commercial Taxes Minister K Ramakrishna, who was also present, said.

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