Saying that a "symbolic" reduction of Rs 5 and Rs 10 per litre in the excise duty on petrol and diesel will not bring down inflation, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday said the Centre should promise to the country that the fuel prices will not be increased in this way in the future. He also claimed that people know that after the Assembly polls in five states, the prices will start increasing again.
The Centre recently reduced the central excise duty by Rs 5 and Rs 10 per litre on the prices of petrol and diesel respectively. Subsequently, several states cut the Value-Added Tax (VAT) on fuel rates. The Congress government in Rajasthan is yet to announce a VAT reduction in the prices of petrol and diesel and is facing flak from the opposition BJP over the issue.
Gehlot said he will hold discussions about reducing the VAT on petrol and diesel in the state at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday and an appropriate decision will be taken. "We will decide whatever is possible," he said.
The senior Congress leader said it is for the first time after independence that the country is facing such high inflation. Blaming the policies of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for this, he said the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG cylinders kept on increasing continuously and then Rs 5 and Rs 10 per litre were reduced on the petrol and diesel rates, which is insufficient to curb the inflation. "Our demand is that you (Centre) make a promise to the country that the rates will not be increased in this way in the future, only then the inflation will start coming down," Gehlot told reporters here.
He said inflation is a big issue in the country and every household is affected. "Be it the middle class or the poor, living has become difficult. It has become difficult for women to run the kitchen," the chief minister said, adding that the top priority of the NDA government should be to curb the inflation.
Gehlot was at the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) office to pay tributes to former prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru on his birth anniversary. He also launched the "Jan Jagran Saptah" (public awareness week), under which various activities including foot marches will be conducted across the state on the issue of inflation, on a call given by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi.