Petrol Prices in Tamil Nadu: Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan on Sunday said DMK did not make an electoral promise to effect an immediate cut in fuel prices and had an argument with journalists over the issue. Work on releasing a white paper on the state’s finances was on and it would be out in about two weeks after the Governor’s Address to the Assembly, he said.
Governor Banwarilal Purohit is set to address the Assembly on Monday, his first to the 16th TN Assembly and after the DMK won polls and formed the government last month.
The DMK government has been fulfilling its poll promises and the Rs 4,000 COVID-19 financial assistance to people is among them, he said addressing reporters here.
On a cut in fuel prices by reducing Value Added Tax, he said though it was not possible now considering the present circumstances, he assured that it would be done, as soon as possible.
The DMK had promised to reduce the price of petrol by Rs 5 and diesel by Rs 4, in its election manifesto.
Hitting out at the centre for a three-fold plus rise in taxation of fuel over the years, he said the union government however did not share such additional revenue with states as it covered these under the heads of cess and surcharge.
That is the reason why the state government could not immediately reduce tax, he pointed out.
When a reporter posed a fuel price related question vis-a-vis DMK’s poll promise, he asked if his party had given a specific date to effect the cut.
Also, he remarked “what could I do if one does not understand math” and wondered if the scribe “went to school.”
“Why are you asking? Does she (referring to a reporter who too was asking a question) not have enough wisdom? let her ask the question, do women have no rights?,” he said when another reporter shot a similar question on fuel prices at him.
In a tweet, he said “Things we didnt know then: 1) Union Budget would switch (Rs) 50,000 Cr from excise to Cess (not shared w/ States) 2) Scale of COVID 2nd wave & spending required (1000s of Crores) 3) Full extent of Fiscal decay. Also, he said “we did not promise immediate cut…We will cut during our term.” The fiscal situation was much worse than they feared, he tweeted.