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COVID-19 outbreak : Fearing revenue loss, Assam ups petrol, diesel prices

Guwahati:  The Assam government has increased the prices of petrol and diesel predicting at least 50 per cent revenue loss due to cut in oil prices in the international market following a crisis triggered by the outbreak of COVID-19, Assam’s Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday.

The state government issued a notification on Tuesday notifying that the VAT (Value Added Tax) for diesel has been fixed at 23.66 paise in the rupee or Rs 17.45 per litre, whichever is higher, and VAT for petrol and other motor spirits at 32.66 paise in the rupee or Rs 22.63 per lire, whichever is higher.

The notification issued by the Finance (taxation) Department under the provision of the Assam Value Added Tax Act, 2003, came into effect from midnight on April 22.

While talking to the media on Wednesday, Sarma said that due to a decrease in international oil prices, it would affect the revenue immensely in Assam as the state getting royalty for oil from Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India Limited. “Assam earns an average of Rs 166 crore monthly as royalty from the sale of oil. But because of prices coming down, that figure would be less than Rs 50 crore per month,” the minister said.

“The increase in prices of petrol/diesel is an effort to cover some losses and partially protect our revenue. This is a temporary measure and there will be a roll-back once the coronavirus crisis ends,” Sarma said.

To a question, the Minister said that due to lockdown, most people are unable to use their own vehicles and two-wheeler and also the owners of the other vehicles — trucks, buses and small running their automobiles in a limited way, people at large would not be affected.

“Pain has to be shared by every one to overcome the crisis,” Sarma remarked.

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