P Chidambaram: Living between ‘Satan and the deep sea’: Chidambaram in the kingdoms’

Veteran Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday expressed surprise that states could afford to waive revenue from VAT on petrol and diesel if the Center did not provide more funds or subsidy them further, comparing their situation to “Satan and the deep sea”.

The former finance minister’s remarks came a day after the government announced a reduction in excise duty on petrol by Rs 8 per liter and on diesel by Rs 6.

“A notice to reduce tariffs on petrol and diesel is now available. FM has used the term ‘excise duty’, but the reduction includes additional excise duty which is not shared with the states. To that extent, I am correcting, “Chidambaram said.

States are getting very little through the sharing of tariffs on petrol and diesel, he noted, adding that their revenue comes from VAT on petrol and diesel.

“I think they can afford to give up that revenue unless the Center gives more funds or more grants to them,” Chidambaram said.

The situation is like being in “the devil and the deep sea,” he said in multiple tweets.

Petrol prices were cut by Rs 8.69 per liter and diesel by Rs 7.05 per liter on Sunday, following the government’s decision to reduce excise duty on auto fuel, giving relief to consumers affected by higher fuel prices which pushed inflation to record highs.

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