Samosas and mosquito repellents among other ‘high-cost’ items have become costlier in Bihar after the state government decided to impose a hefty 13.5 per cent tax on them to raise funds for developmental projects, a decision inviting sharp criticism from the opposition.
The state cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in its meeting on Tuesday approved a proposal to impose 13.5 per cent tax on eatables like ‘samosa’, kachouri, bhujia and potato chips, and other items, including mosquito repellents.
The state government said the hike in VAT was to fund developmental projects.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Prem Kumar told PTI that the decision makes it clear that the secular alliance government has no concern for citizens and it was intended to “increase financial burden on them.”
“These are unnecessary hikes and will not help in generating much revenue to the state government,” Prem Kumar said.
Commercial Taxes Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav, however, justified the hike. “Taxes have been increased only on high cost items used by citizens having good financial strength,” he said.
“Only by mobilising some additional resource from richer sections of the society, the state government can undertake welfare works for the poor,” he added.
JD(U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar echoed the views. “Those who can afford should make some sacrifice to help the state government take up programmes for betterment of the poor,” he said.
The state cabinet has decided to impose 13.5 per cent tax on luxury items, including sweets priced more than Rs 500 a kg, to raise additional revenue for development work.