Kohima, November 19 (MExN): The State government’s decision to increase the tax on petroleum products has received criticism from various quarters despite a clarification issued by the State Finance department on November 17.
Joining the outcry, National People’s Party (NPP) Nagaland on Thursday condemned the move, calling it “bereft of any possible logic, especially at a time when the entire economy of the state is in jeopardy.”
It expressed shock at how the government could resort to such an ‘inhuman practice’ of increasing the tax on the essential fuels in lieu of the COVID-19 cess which was abrogated just recently.
It criticized the government for resorting to ‘anti-people’ hike in the prices of fuel instead of allaying the financial burden during Christmas season.
In a statement issued by its IPR and Media Cell, the NPP stated that the prices of commodities are already at an ‘all time high’ and the additional hike in fuel prices would give the traders another opportunity to raise the price.
While the State government cited financial crisis as the reason for the hike, the NPP called it a ‘lame excuse’ and questioned the logic of passing on the burden to the common people.
“In fact, during these trying times, the government should have the moral credibility of not increasing the prices of commodities, including fuel,” it said, while going on to add that the state government “neither has the political will to do it, nor does it want the central funds to be utilized for the benefit of the common people.”
The NPP further took strong exception to the State government calling ‘legitimate criticism’ of its policies and practices by the opposition parties as ‘barking’.
It urged the government to take a ‘matured stand’ on the criticisms and draft an action plan for boosting the state’s economy by sustainable development rather than arbitrary taxation.
It also demanded the ‘inhuman hike’ in petrol and diesel prices across the state to be rolled back.
NDPP welcomes ‘revenue increasing’ decision
The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) on Thursday came out in support of the government and accused the opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) of having ‘expressed their ignorance’ on governance after its recent attack on the Chief Minister regarding the increase in tax on fuel in the State.
“It is the prerogative of any state government to levy taxes on goods and commodities as and when the need arises and likewise, there has been recent hike in prices on petrol, diesel and lubricants,” the NDPP reasoned.
It reminded the NPF of similar increase on taxes even during the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government regime. “For cash strapped state like Nagaland, where revenue generation is extremely low, such exercises taken up by the state government should in fact be welcomed,” it added.
While acknowledging the importance of an active opposition in a democracy, the NDPP said that the NPF’s attack on the CM and the government over non issues and demand for roll back on government decisions was uncalled for.
It reminded that the NDPP-led People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) government has the people’s mandate and “does not need the approval of the NPF to make its decisions.”
Welcoming the government’s decision, the NDPP extended its support to any initiative of the PDA government that would help in increasing revenues for the State.