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Pradeep Pattanayak

In the wake of the Central government slashing the excise duty on fuel, the State units of BJP and Congress have started demanding that the Odisha government should similarly reduce the VAT on petrol and diesel prices.

While BJP State President Samir Mohanty in a tweet on Sunday called for a cut in VAT by the State government, his party at a press conference in Sambalpur reiterated the same demand. 

"I would like to request to the Odisha government to slash the VAT with immediate effect. Like the Central government, if the State government reduces the VAT, the price of fuel will come down further," said Bhubaneswar BJP MP  Aparajita Sarangi. 

Congress spokesperson Nishikant Mishra, while terming it to be ridiculous on the part of the BJP to take pride in reducing Rs 10 by hiking it by Rs 40 in the last seven years, said the State government should also reduce its share of VAT. 

In his reaction, BJD MP Amar Pattanayak said, "The State government will make a detailed study on how a price cut would affect the State's revenue base. Then, I hope, the government would take a step in this regard."

With the slash in excise duty, the State's VAT has automatically reduced. "As the Centre has cut the excise duty on petrol by Rs 8, the State's VAT has witnessed a slash of Rs 1.31. Similarly, in case of diesel, the Centre has reduced the duty by Rs 6 and the State's VAT has dropped by Rs1.49. The State government may also slash in its share of VAT," said general secretary of Utkal Petroleum Dealers' Association Sanjay Lath. 
As of now, the Central and State governments are taking Rs 19.90 and Rs 22.59 towards VAT per litre of petrol and the corresponding VAT amounts in the case of diesel are Rs 15.80 and Rs 17.85. 

However, the slash in fuel price has a domino effect on several products. "The price of cooking oil has been reduced by Rs 2 per litre. Similarly, the pulses' price has also witnessed a decrease by Rs 2 to 3. The price of sugar has also reduced by Rs 20 to 30 a kilo," said general secretary of Odisha Traders Association, Sudhakar Panda. 

Similarly, people expressed mixed reactions over the slashing of excise duty. 

"The reduce has brought us a respite. But when compared to the hike made in the last couple of years, the cut should have been more. We the middle-class people find it difficult to run our families," said a consumer.

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