New Delhi: Bowing to Opposition pressure, the Delhi government on Monday withdrew a 4% VAT on cooking gas giving a Rs12-13 relief to consumers though it stuck to its decision to withdraw the Rs40 subsidy on LPG cylinders.
The government also withdrew the 5% VAT on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) besides bringing back the VAT for tea, coffee and cocoa to 5% from the proposed 12.5%.
The measures were announced by finance minister A K Walia in Delhi Assembly during his reply to discussions on the Budget presented on 22 March.
With the withdrawal of 4% VAT on cooking gas, the price of an LPG cylinder will come down by Rs12-13. After the withdrawal of Rs40 subsidy, an LPG cylinder used to cost Rs322.80.
Walia’s budget proposals to increase VAT on several items had triggered protests from opposition BJP as well as from ruling Congress MLAs.
Earlier in the day, high drama was witnessed in the Delhi Assembly when BJP MLAs were removed from the House after they trooped to the Well and resorted to slogan shouting demanding roll back of withdrawal of subsidy on cooking gas and increase in VAT on several items.
Minutes after the House assembled, leader of Opposition V K Malhotra raised the issue of price rise and said several MCD councillors were injured during a protest near the Assembly with police resorting to the use of water cannon and demanded a special discussion on the issue.
Soon all the BJP MLAs were on their feet displaying posters and demanded immediate withdrawal of increase in VAT on several items and roll back of subsidy withdrawal on cooking gas.
As repeated appeals by Speaker Yoganand Shastri fell on deaf ears, he adjourned the House for 15 minutes. When the House met again after 15 minutes, all BJP MLAs trooped to the well and again started shouting anti-government slogans.
The Speaker tried to pacify them but the unrelenting BJP MLAs continued the protest following which the Speaker asked the marshals to remove senior MLAs H S Balli, Karan Singh Tanwar, Ravindra Bansal, Subhash Sachdeva and Harsh Vardhan from the House.
After removal of these members, the remaining BJP MLAs continued their sloganeering after which Shastri named the BJP MLAs one by one asking them to go out of the House and asked the marshals to ensure that they go out of the House.