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Tamil Nadu FM slams Nirmala Sitharaman for exhorting states to impose cuts on fuel prices

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Tamil Nadu FM slams Nirmala Sitharaman for exhorting  states to impose cuts on fuel prices
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New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan on Monday took a jibe at Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for "exhorting" states to cut their share of taxes on petrol and diesel.

Noting that Tamil Nadu has one of the best statistical outcomes of any government in India, Mr. Thiagarajan in an interview with NDTV said that his state did not need "dictation from people who perform worse than them".

He further said that the state doesn't like other people extra-constitutionally, authoritarian force them to do things they don't want to do."

"We have one of the best statistical outcomes of any government in India. We brought the revenue deficit down from ₹ 60,000 something to close to ₹ 40,000 something crores. Our fiscal deficit is half that of the Union Government. Our per capita income is twice that of the national average. Our inflation is only 5 per cent when the national inflation is 8 per cent. We know what we are doing. We don't need anybody to tell us what to do. We don't need dictation from people who perform worse than us. We don't like other people extra-constitutionally, authoritarianly force us to do things we don't want to do," Mr Thiagarajan was quoted as saying.

He highlighted that instead of 'requesting', the Centre is 'exhorting' states to cut tax on fuels while noting that constitution allows states to manage their own finances to whatever extent they have left.

"When the Union Government raised excise and that too shifted it from pure excise to cess and surcharge, three times on petrol and 10 times on diesel, they did not even consult the states. They cut the share given to us. At that time, they had no compassion, no consideration. They have had bad tax policy for seven-eight years, now that the chickens are coming home to roost, they are making fake villains out of us. This is atrocious. This is shameless hypocrisy," the minister said.

The DMK leader's fiery takedown came two days after Ms. Sitharaman announced a series of tax cuts on fuel and changes to the levies on crucial commodities in a bid to insulate consumers from rising prices amid high inflation. She also asked states to chip in and reduce their share.

The new tax regime on petrol and diesel could result in a loss of about 1 trillion Indian rupees to the government in annual revenue due to the lower collection, she said in a series of tweets.

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